"You, the young woman at the beginning of your career, should know
that women are no longer a novelty in business and cannot be 
retained for chivalrous, glamorous, or altruistic reasons.  The woman
who succeeds must work for her position and earn every advancement."
The Young Woman in Business (1953)



Beth Bailey was born April 15, 1892 in Superior, Wisconsin.  She attended school in Menominee, Wisconsin, then taught home economics at several locations before completing a B.S. degree at the Stout Institute (now the University of Wisconsin-Stout) in 1918.  After a year at the University of Pittsburgh teaching household science, she came to Iowa State in 1919 as an Associate Professor in the Household Science Department (now the Human Nutrition Department of Family and Consumer Sciences). 

Beth Bailey was an innovative instructor.  Meal planning and service was a major focus of home economists in the 1920’s.  Nationwide, each school of home economics had developed its own methods of table service.  Miss Bailey analyzed each school’s method and devised basic rules.  Her course, Household Science 355:  Meal Planning, became an experimental laboratory in table service.  From this course came her first book, Meal Planning and Table Service in the American Home.  This textbook was widely used in college courses and six editions of the book were published, the final one in 1964.

In 1923, Beth Bailey married John McLean, who owned a drugstore in Hood River, Oregon.  She operated the store’s lunch counter, very successfully.  John McLean died in 1932.  Beth Bailey McLean then returned to Ames with her two children, Jack and Janet, to pursue a masters’ degree. 

When she completed her degree in 1933, she went to work for the Southern Rice Industry in New Orleans as Head of their Home Economics Department.  In 1937 she began a twenty year career as Head of the Home Economics Department at Swift and Company in Chicago.  Known by the corporate name of “Martha Logan,” Mrs. McLean and her staff of 35 home economists worked closely with the Swift Research Department to develop, test, and promote new products.  She also traveled, speaking to both high school and college students on advertising, new products, the role of the professional home economist, and how to prepare for a business career.  She also continued to write books and articles, and her contributions appeared in Wallaces Farmer, Better Homes and Gardens, and Sunset.  During these years, she maintained close contact with Iowa State, and hired 27 ISU graduates for her “Martha Logan” staff.  She was awarded ISU’s Alumni Recognition Medal and an honorary doctorate in 1958.  She also received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 1969.

Beth Bailey McLean retired from Swift and Company in 1957, and joined the home economics faculty at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.  She died September 20, 1976.


The American mother will find here
a practical American way of 
serving her daily meals in order
and beauty.  Preface, 1923

Shown:  The first cherry pie sale, 1922.  

A VEISHEA Tradition

One of Miss Bailey’s ideas resulted in a tradition still enjoyed by Iowa Staters every spring.  Before the all school festival of VEISHEA was established, each division of the campus held their own celebration.  The Home Economics celebration was called HEc Day.  On the 1921 HEc Day, 2000 visitors toured the Home Economics classrooms and laboratory facilities and then were treated to lunch--coffee, ham sandwiches and small cherry pies with ice cream.  In 1922, Miss McLean suggested that the little pies be sold as a fund-raiser.  Sale of 2000 pies netted $500.00. The money was used for scholarships, the divisional publication, The Iowa Homemaker, and a donation to a girls’ school in Constantinople.



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Twentieth Century Women of Iowa State University
Comments: archives@iastate.edu
URL: http://historicexhibits.lib.iastate.edu/20thWomen/revisedSept2005/20thcenturywomen.html