Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Elizabeth Speer

Committee Members

Jessie W. Harris, Ella J. Day



This is a study of thirty families living in Divernon, Illinois and the surrounding area. The aim is to picture the homes; their furnishings; the size of the families; the education, religion, social and physical conditions; the incomes and their savings and investments.

The subject was selected because the investigator felt the information learned might help her when planning a course of study in home economics for the Divernon Township High School. She felt that her teaching might become more effective if the home economics course of study was planned to meet the needs of the particular community.

The families studied were chosen for three reasons. First, they represented homes of the students of the investigator in twenty-five cases and the other five were homes of particular interest to her. Second, the investigator felt they were representative of the families of the town in nationality, religion, education and financial status. Third, they were families the investigator thought would cooperate in giving, freely, information about their homes and families.

Twenty-seven of the families studied lived in Divernon and the other three lived on farms in the township and sent their children to the Divernon Township High School. The data for the study were obtained by all of the following means: personal interview, statistics, questionnaire and class problems. The information was collected over a period of two years.

The mayor of the town furnished information about the origin and development of the town. Data in regard to those on relief and federal employment were secured from the files of the Township Supervisor, father of the investigator. The Township tax collector was glad to supply the needed information about the tax conditions.

One of the high school boys was hired by the investigator in June, 1938 to take a census of the town and determine the population and nationalities of the families.

The investigator planned her own questionnaire, using one that had been formulated by the School of Home Economics of the University of Tennessee as a basis.

Fifteen of the thirty questionnaires used in the study were filled out by the investigator in the presence of the mother or mother and father. The other fifteen were filled out by the parents themselves and the investigator checked the questionnaire with a member of the family when he or she returned it. In all cases the parents knew why the information was being secured.

The information about the food consumption of the thirty families was secured by a class problem in twenty-five cases and by personal interviews in the other five cases. In each case menus for a whole day were secured.

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