March is Women's History Month
Lily Pearl Ponder Chamberlain
Lily Pearl Ponder Chamberlain was one of the Tarleton faculty members when it opened in 1899. She taught Latin, arithmetic, college algebra, English, spelling, and ancient history! Wow, what an array of classes! Later she taught six to eight classes of English a day. However, after her marriage she began teaching English at Stephenville High School.
While teaching high school, Mrs. Chamberlain developed a great desire to see home economics taught in the schools. She believed that much of the poverty and sickness was due to the lack of proper training. In 1914 she returned to Tarleton and presented her idea to President Cox. He agreed, but said that there was no money to hire a teacher.
Well, Ms Lily Pearl "pondered" the situation, and, as many ideas do, an idea emerged during the still of the night! She would teach home economics herself! Even though she had no formal training in teaching home economics, and was teaching six English classes a day, she still wanted to try. President Cox even offered to teach her two afternoon classes. Off she went that summer to the College of Industrial Arts at Denton.
Above is an early Tarleton cooking class. Lily Pearl's first foods class had an enrollment of 18. She first set up in two basement rooms of the new Mollie Crow Administration building. Of course, later the building became the home economics building when the new administration building, now the Howell building, was built. The first classrooms had nine two-burner oil stoves, several plain pine tables covered with oilcloth, and a few dishes and utensils! The first classes were taught in the fall of 1915, making home economics a part of Tarleton for 95 years!
King, C. Richard, Golden Days of Purple & White, p.40-43.