Friday, November 3, 2017
Agnes Ellen Harris (Brief Biography)
Agnes Ellen Harris, a native of Cedartown, Georgia, became a pioneer in the field of women's education. Harris graduated from Georgia Women's College, obtained her teaching certificate, and then attended Oread Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. From there, she returned to her home state of Georgia, where she taught Home Economics for five years. She was a Charter Member of the American Home Economics Association, organized in 1908. She would later serve as national vice-president of that organization. She continued to further her own education, obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree at Columbia University in 1910. She later moved to Florida, where she continued to work in forefront of home-economics education. In a 1917 report, she was mentioned as President of the Florida Educational Association and as Dean of the School of Home Economics in Tallahassee. She was also a State Agent for Home Demonstration Work, teaching rural women about nutrition, canning, and selling produce. As part of her state work, she organized "Tomato Clubs," which later grew into Florida's 4-H club for girls. In 1919 she moved to Texas for a year, but returned in 1920, settling in Washington, D.C. There, she worked as a Field Agent for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while completing her Master of Arts Degree at Columbia. Upon accepting a new position as Dean of Women at Auburn University in 1922, she moved to Alabama. She remained at Auburn until 1927, when she became Dean of Women at the University of Alabama. During her tenure there, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alabama, and became head of the Home Economics Department. Harris died in Tuscaloosa in 1952. She was posthumously inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1972.