Helen Stuart Campbell

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Helen Stuart Campbell (July 5, 1839 – July 22, 1918)[1] was a social reformer and pioneer in the field of home economics. Campbell wrote several important studies about women trapped in poverty, and the role that effective home economics could play in lifting women and families out of poverty.

Helen Campbell was born in Lockport, New York and studied in Warren, Rhode Island and Bloomington, New Jersey. Her father was a Stuart and her mother was a Campbell.

She worked as a professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin from 1893 to 1896, and then as a professor of domestic science at Kansas State Agricultural College from 1896 to 1897.[2]


In the 1860s and 70s, she wrote stories and children's books under the name "Mrs. Helen Weeks." In later life and divorced from husband Dr. Grenville Weeks, Helen Campbell—her new pen name—wrote novels and nonfiction works dealing with home economics and relationships between the individual, the home, the workplace, physical well-being, and childhood. She was active in many organizations that advocated female empowerment and associated with many intellectuals and original thinkers, including Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Much of her writing was engaging and vigorous. Her pieces that exposed Gilded Age social inequities and public health failures often featured strongly visual and emotional images which remain poignant for readers today.

Campbell was also the author of an important biography of 17th century colonial American poet, Anne Bradstreet.

All available through the Harvard University Open Collections Program, a fully searchable online database.

  • The Problem of the poor: a record of quite work in unquiet places. New York: Fords, Howard & Hulbert, 1882.
  • Prisoners of poverty: women wage-workers, their trades and their lives. Boston: Roberts Bros., 1889. (online edition)
  • Anne Bradstreet and Her Time. Boston: D. Lothrop Company, 1891.
  • Women wage-earners: their past, their present, and their future. Boston: Roberts Bros., 1893.


  1. ^ Moe, Phyllis (1979). "Helen Stuart Campbell". In Mainiero, Lina. American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present 1. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. pp. 287–9. 
  2. ^ Willard, Julius (1940). History of Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. Kansas State College Press. p. 133. 

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