Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mary Swartz Rose

Born this day in 1874: Mary Swartz Rose (1874–1941), pioneering nutritionist.

Mary Swartz earned a B.Litt. degree from Denison University in 1901 and a B.S. degree from Columbia University’s Teachers College in 1906. She had a special interest in the chemistry of food and nutrition and helped to establish a department of nutrition within the School of Household Arts.
There were no graduate-level degrees for nutrition science, so Swartz studied physiological chemistry at Yale University and earned a Ph.D. in 1909. The following year she married Anton Richard Rose, a graduated student in biochemistry at Yale.
In 1910 Mary Rose returned to Teacher’s College as an assistant professor. She was made associate professor in 1918. By 1921 she became the first professor of nutrition and dietetics, a position she held for the next two decades. At Teachers College she developed a program around the science of nutrition. Her areas of research included basal metabolism, iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, cereals and bran, and the practical applications of nutrition research. She also established methods for the teaching of nutrition science, a key factor in developing the burgeoning field.
Rose served as Deputy Director of the Bureau of Food Conservation of the Federal Food Board from 1917 to 1918. During World War I she helped create nutritionally sound army rations. She was a member of the Council of Foods of the American Medical Association from 1933 to 1940 and a member of the League of Nations Technical Commission on Nutrition from 1935 to 1937. She was president of the American Institute of Nutrition from 1937 to 1938 and was an adviser on nutrition to the Council of National Defense in 1940.
Rose also wrote articles and books for general audiences, including the classic Feeding the Family (1916). In 1932 she published Teaching Nutrition to Boys and Girls, turning her attention toward including nutrition programs in public schools.

Rose measuring children at the Morningside Nutrition and Homemaking Center.  (This image is provided courtesy of the Gottesman Libraries at Teachers College, Columbia University.)

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