Mary Beaumont Welch


 Mary Beaumont Welch was born July 3, 1841, in Lyons, New York, the daughter of Dr. H.L. Beaumont. She married George E. Dudley, professor at Michigan State Normal School, and bore two children-Winifred and George Evans, Jr. George Dudley died of typhoid fever in 1860. Adonijah Welch, the first president of Iowa State College (University), and Mary B. Welch were married on February 3, 1868. From this union came two children, Lily and Witter Welch.

Mary B. Welch was the organizer and head of the Department of Domestic Economy at Iowa State from 1875 to 1883. She set forth a course centered around the properties of chemistry, botany, physiology, geology, and physics that were applicable to the study of domestic economy. Mrs. Welch taught from her life experiences and self-study, as well as from her study of cosmetic science at various institutions. She attended Elmira Seminary in New York, New York School of Cooking, and The National Training School for Cookery in South Kensington. She also toured many cooking institutions along the east coast.

Mrs. Welch's domestic science teachings were not reserved for only the women that attended Iowa State. In 1881, Mrs. Welch taught a class to women in Des Moines, giving her the distinction of initiating the first extension work in home economics at a Land Grant Institution. Besides teaching, Mrs. Welch also wrote a cookbook titled Mrs. Welch's Cookbook. Other forms of her writings appeared in various periodicals.

In 1883, Mary B. Welch resigned from her position at Iowa State. She continued to give lectures after her resignation to various clubs, colleges, and the YWCA.

In 1889, Adonijah died at their summer home in California. Mary B. Welch remarried in 1890 to Dwight Welch. After the death of her husband in 1905 she became very active in her church, teaching several classes of Sunday school. Mary B. Welch remained in California until her death at the age of 83.

In 1992, Mary B. Welch was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame.

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Resources available online

Mary Beaumont Welch Papers

RS 12/3/11
University Archives, Iowa State University Library