For the Love of FACS

Science in the Kitchen

Celebrating National Cereal Day!

Marjorie Child Husted

Marjorie Child Hustedbetty crocker2

Marjorie “Betty Crocker” Child Husted was an American home economist and businesswoman under whose supervision the image of Betty Crocker became a General Mills icon for the perfect cook and homemaker.

Husted attended public schools and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1913.  She remained at the university to take a degree in education the next year.  After a period as secretary of the Infant Welfare Society of Minneapolis, she joined the Red Cross during World War I.  After the war she was associated with the Women’s Cooperative Alliance until 1923, when she secured the post of supervisor of promotional advertising and merchandising for the Creamette Company of Minneapolis.  A year later she moved to the Washburn Company, a flour milling and sales firm, as field representative in home economics.

test kitchen

In 1926 Husted organized a home service department for Washburn-Crosby whose staff answered letters from consumers on various topics in homemaking under the standardized signature Betty Crocker, a name first employed in that manner in 1921.  Washburn-Crosby was one of several firms that merged in 1928 to create General Mills and to the new consolidated company it contributed both the Gold Medal flour label and its home service department with Betty Crocker.  The department was renamed the Betty Crocker Homemaking Service in 1929 with Husted as director.  Under her guidance Betty Crocker became the personification of the company, an epitome of the competent, friendly American homemaker.  A portrait by a leading commercial artist, Neysa McMein, helped fix the image of Betty Crocker, whose likeness and signature appeared on a growing number of consumer items and became well known to the public.  Husted was also the voice of Betty Crocker on radio interview shows.

In 1946 Husted became a consultant to the officers and executives of General Mills, and in 1948 she was made consultant in advertising, public relations, and home service.  She also served in 1948 as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on food conservation.  In April 1950 she left General Mills to form her own consulting firm, Marjorie Child Husted and Associates.

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FACS Careers, FACS Engineering, FACSessorize, Family and Consumer Science Education, FCS, For the Love of FACS, Historical FACS, Home economics, National Women's History Month, Techno FACS

Beauty and Brains

Celebrating National Women’s History Month!


Hedy Lamarr:  Brilliant, Beautiful and Bold

Our blog post today honors Hedy Lamarr, a woman who truly “had it all”! Often called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Films,” Hedy Lamarr’s beauty and screen presence made her one of the most popular actresses of her day.  While it’s unlikely that students in today’s FACS classes would be familiar with her work on film, they all owe Hedy a debt of gratitude.  You see, her work off screen led to the development of one of the most used items in today’s world:  the cell phone!

She was born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria.  At seventeen years old Hedy starred in her first film, a German project called Geld auf der Strase.  Hedy continued her film career by working on both German and Czechoslovakian productions.  The 1932 German film Exstase brought her to the attention of Hollywood producers, and she soon signed a contract with MGM.

Once in Hollywood, she officially changed her name to Hedy Lamarr and starred in her first Hollywood film, Algiers (1938), opposite Charles Boyer.  She continued to land parts opposite the most popular and talented actors of the day, including Spencer, Tracy, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart.  Some of her films include an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flat (1942), White Cargo (1942), and Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah (1949) and The Female Animal (1957).


As if being a beautiful, talented actress wasn’t enough, Hedy Lamarr was also extremely intelligent.  In addition to her film accomplishments, Hedy patented an idea that later became the foundation of both secure military communications and mobile phone technology.  In 1942, Hedy and composer George Antheil patented what they called the “Secret Communication System.”  The original idea, meant to solve the problem of enemies blocking signals from radio-controlled missiles during World War II, involved changing radio frequencies simultaneously to prevent enemies from being able to detect the messages.  While the technology of the time prevented the feasibility of the idea at first, the advent of the transistor and its later downsizing made Hedy’s idea very important to both the military and the cell phone industry.

This impressive technological achievement combined with her acting talent and star quality to make “the most beautiful woman in film” one of the most interesting and intelligent women in the movie industry.

Have a great weekend!





For the Love of FACS

Focus on Fashion Engineers

Honoring Two Great Designers

Lilly Pulitzer

It all started with a juice stand in Palm Beach.  Lilly, a young, sassy New York socialite had eloped with Peter Pulitzer, grandson of the Pulitzer Prize’s Joseph Pulitzer and settled in Palm Beach to live the life of the rich and famous.  Peter owned several Florida citrus groves, but Lilly needed a project of her own.  So in 1960, with Peter’s produce, she opened a juice stand on Via Mizner, just off Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.

Lilly’s business was hit, but squeezing oranges, lemons, and pink grapefruit made a mess of her clothes.  Realizing that she needed a juice stand uniform, Lilly asked her dressmaker to design a dress that would camouflage the stains.  The result?  A comfortable sleeveless shift made of bright, colorful printed cotton in pink, green, yellow and orange.  The dress even had custom dressmaker details like lining and lace seam bindings.  It was perfect for the job and became Lilly’s first classic shift.

Although her customers liked Lilly’s juice, they loved her dress.  When people began to ask if they could buy the dress, Lilly had a few more made up to sell in the stand.  Soon Lilly was selling more dresses than juice, so she decided to stop squeezing and to focus on designing and selling her Lilly originals.  Before long, Jackie Kennedy, an old school chum, began wearing Lilly’s designs and as First Lady was featured in Life Magazine wearing a Classic Shift.  Then, of course, everyone wanted one and Lilly Pulitzer became a fashion sensation.

Bonnie Cashin

Bonnie Cashion was a highly influential innovator in fashion design who created loose-fitting sportswear and light, layered clothing.  She first designed sportswear for the fashion house of Adler & Adler from 1937 to 1943.  Working for Twentieth Century Fox from 1944 to 1949, Cashin designed clothes for some 60 films, including Laura (1944) and The Keys of the Kingdom (1944).  She started her company, Bonnie Cashin Designs, in 1952 and was one of the world’s most prominent designers during the following two decades.

In 1962, Cashin was hired by Gail Leather Products, the original parent company of Coach, as their first designer.  Coach would go on to become one of the world’s most successful purveyors of handbags and other leather products.  Many of the company’s iconic handbag designs still produced and marketed today were created by Bonnie Cashin.

Celebrate National Women’s History Month by sharing the legacy of these two great American designers with your FACS students!

Tomorrow we’re building a bridge and improving automobile safety!  Stay tuned!