Helen Stuart Campbell

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Helen S Campbell

Helen Stuart Campbell (born Helen Stuart; July 5, 1839 – July 22, 1918)[1] was a social reformer and pioneer in the field of home economics. She 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.


She was born in Lockport, New York to Jane E. (née Campbell) and Homer H. Stuart. (She later changed her surname to favor her mother's maiden name.) She studied in Warren, Rhode Island and Bloomington, New Jersey. She worked as a professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin from 1893–96, and then as a professor of domestic science at Kansas State Agricultural College from 1896-97.[2]


In the 1860s and 70s, she wrote stories and children's books under the name "Mrs. Helen Weeks". In later life, divorced from husband Dr. Grenville Weeks, 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 writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Much of her writing was engaging and vigorous. Her pieces exposed Gilded Age social inequities and public health failures. She was the author of a biography of 17th century colonial American poet, Anne Bradstreet.[citation needed]

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 profile". In Mainiero, Lina. American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present. 1. New York, New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. pp. 287–89. 
  2. ^ Willard, Julius (1940). History of Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. Kansas State College Press. p. 133. 

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