Geraldine’s 1951 Hoover High School Home Ec project: 27 pages of Storage Conveniences in the Home

retro-kitchen-organizedFlash back 62 years — to 1951 — and what a treat we have today:  The 1951 Home Economics project completed reader Angela’s mom Geraldine when she was in the 11th grade at Hoover High School in San Diego, Calif. Entitled “Storage Conveniences in the Home,” this delightful primer is pieced together scrapbook-style, using yarn taped to pages as pointer lines. We declare it museum worthy — a wonderful piece of popular culture ephemera that recalls life — and the education of young women — in the early 1950s.

mid-century-ranch-houseAngela wrote:

My mom, who eventually got her bachelor’s degree in home economics, sent me a project she did in high school, in 1951. It’s fabulous. Pictures from magazines, different diagrams of kitchens, examples of types of shelving, etc. I know your site fans would dig it.

vintage-stoveWe asked Angela if her mom could tell us a bit more. Geraldine replied in a flash:

As an 11th grade student at Hoover High School in San Diego, I chose Home Management for one of my elective classes.

mid-century-family-roomOf course, the class was part of the Home Economics Dept.

vintage-tile-bathroomThe assignment was to use storage space wisely throughout the entire home and garage.  Four other girls and I were given the kitchen storage space project.

vintage-blue-kitchenEach of us presented our magazine cut-outs to the class and I was the only one who earned an “A”.  Why?  I briefly explained one can spoil a dinner recipe if you are unable to find the correct knife for mincing fresh herbs due to clutter.  Store only what you often use and remove the clutter.

stone-and-wood-vintage-bathroomOnly an “A”, Geraldine? We give you an A+! This is such a wonderful time capsule of school life in the 1950s — thank you, Geraldine! Keep digging through your archives, we want to see More!


And yes, Angela, we dig it. We dig it a lot. Thank you!

Readers, did you discover any new storage ideas from Geraldine’s report? Pam says she’s diggin’ the built-in perfume shelves in #20

All of the images from Geraldine’s high school kitchen and storage project can be seen much larger in our slideshow — for ease of reading captions and admiring all her hard work.  Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:

  1. Puddletown Cheryl says:

    You know what storage I miss? The broom closet. My mops, brooms and vacuum end up in the entry closet. Not a pretty site for guests. Sigh.

  2. lynda says:

    As an “old” home economics major, I certainly enjoyed this, very much. I would say this would have been a dream home for a fairly affluent family in 1951. And the difference about “man caves” today and earlier rooms for father, they are now not about pursuing any work or hobbies!
    I think we are missing out in schools by not teaching child development, consumer finance, home maintenance, nutrition and other useful subjects that encourage a more productive life. Great pictures capturing the post war era.

    1. Pam says:

      My daughter, who is 26, teaches Family and Consumer Sciences (Home Ec to those of us over 40.) It encompasses so much more than cooking and sewing now. She teaches life skills that every student should be required to know, but unfortunately, being an elective, it’s one of the subjects that’s first to be cut when there are budget issues.

  3. Janet in CT says:

    One thing that jumped right out at me, and isn’t a good thing, is the controls on the wall oven in photo #2. Right at the eye level for toddlers and before the controls were push-type child proofed. I don’t think I have ever even seen one like it so I would guess that style didn’t last long.

  4. Gretchen says:

    You could spend hours playing “spot the mid-century products” with this- Costco step-stool! Guerlain perfume! and does anybody still need blueing for their laundry? This is a great reference source for mid-century taste- note the daughter’s French Provincial dressing room, and the colonial maple china hutch- as Pam has pointed out, these were as popular as “Danish Modern” style furniture. I love the flower design on the roller blinds in image 3. Thanks, Geraldine, for sharing this with us!

  5. vegebrarian says:

    What a fun story! I have to say, I like the hideaway mirror and the closets the best.

    As a teen I used to cut out pictures of my dream house and wardrobe (of course, I still do this now!)- after my grandmother died we found her high school scrapbook and it was filled with pictures of living rooms, comforters, fancy dresses (and Katy Keene comics!). It really made me smile to think we were so alike. I framed all of the George Petty pin-ups I found loose in the back of her scrapbook and they’re hanging all over the house.

  6. Jmb says:

    I love this! My ranch is from 1951 and I’ve had to rebuild the kitchen and bath literally from the floor up. What a neat flash back to home economics in the 50s

  7. Jen says:

    Wow, I love this! Believe it or not, I graduated in the mid-1990s, and in my home ec class (freshman year at a parochial school—perhaps that explains it?), we did a similar project: our instructor not only had us do a little flipbook of well-organized home cutouts from magazines (none of my cutouts, I am sure, were this swank), but we had a few weeks of cooking classes (my partner and I didn’t do well with our assigned souffle, but after a minor setback, our raspberry fondue was a HUGE hit).

    What memories seeing Geraldine’s project brings back. Again, though…her cutouts are super-fab. Great stuff—what a treat!

  8. Janice says:

    I’m not that young (graduate HS in 1975), but it’s odd that one of the first things I thought of was, “Wow, she had to do all that without the internet.” I can picture Geraldine sitting at her desk in her bedroom or the kitchen table pouring over magazines and cutting out each and every picture and handwriting her tag lines (by the way, very nice penmanship – another lost art!) What a wonderful treat and as much as I loved looking at the pictures, what I really loved was the image of that 17-18 year girl working on a school project and taking pride in it. Thank you for sharing Geraldine and Angela!

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