Culinary History Collection


Current Editor: Cynthia D. Bertelsen

Issue 1 Spring 2001

Culinary Heroines & Heroes

Dora Greenlaw Peacock

Born in New Orelans in 1903, Dora Greenlaw spent some of her youth in Blacksburg, attended Hollins College, and graduated from Sophie Newcomb College. She went on to teach at the Episcopal School in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and was named Dean-Elect. In 1928 she married Dr. Markham Peacock who chaired the English Department at Virginia Polytechinic Institute from 1960 to 1966. They traveled widely and enjoyed entertaining VPI students in their Draper Road home. Dora Greenlaw Peacock's extensive collection of cookbooks was donated to the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise by her husband, following her death in 1983.

Laura Jane Harper

The first woman to be an academic dean at VPI, Dr. Laura Jane Harper served the College of Home Economics from 1960 to 1980. She joined the Home Economics faculty at VPI in 1948, but took an educational leave in 1951 to pursue her doctorate at Michigan State University. In January 1956 she returned to VPI as a full professor, resumed teaching, and completed her dissertation. In addition to teaching, Dr. Harper also conducted research for the Virginia Agricultural Experimental Station as director of home economics research. In 1958, Dr. Harper began her administrative career at VPI when she agreed to be the interim department head for Home Economics. During her career she taught graduate and undergraduate nutrition courses; her research focused on food habits, food and culture, nutrition in international development, and nutrient metabolism. She was known for her leadership in academia and professional associations (e.g. American Dietetic Association, American Home Economics Association, International Federation of Home Economics). [See also the online thesis A Fighter to the End: The Remarkable Life and Career of Laura Jane Harper.]

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