02 Do-Gooders

Do-Gooders Step In:
By the 1920s, however, Americans had become entranced by the relatively fledgling science of nutrition and home economics, says Susan Levine, director of the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of the greatly informative School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America’s Favorite Welfare Program. Lunchrooms became a standard part of school architecture, schoolchildren were weighed and measured for signs of malnutrition, home economists lectured about what to cook and eat (the pupils in this 1933 were Tennessee mothers), and activists argued that “the right kind of food” would help assimilate waves of immigrant children who needed to be turned into “proper Americans.” Most school-lunch programs were still volunteer efforts, however.