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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 261

Papers of Christine Frederick, 1883-1970 (inclusive), 1901-1970 (bulk)


Correspondence, writings, photographs, etc., of Christine Isobel (MacGaffey) Frederick, home economist, lecturer, and author.


  • 1883-1970
  • Majority of material found within 1901-1970

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research, with the exception of folder 13, which is closed, use microfilm (M-107).

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the unpublished papers created by Christine Frederick is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.42 linear feet (1 file box) plus 18 folders of photographs, 1 oversize folder, 1 folio folder, 2 supersize items, 1 reel of microfilm (M-107)
When deposited in the Library, the papers of Christine (MacGaffey) Frederick were in scrapbooks. They have been removed for preservation purposes and the newsclippings have been microfilmed. These papers document only some aspects of Frederick's work as a home economist. Photographs make up the bulk of the collection and emphasize her work at Applecroft Home Experiment Station. The other papers include correspondence concerning her magazine articles, copies of speeches and talks, booklets and pamphlets, and a few documents and photographs about Frederick's college days and personal life. There are no personal papers.

MICROFILM M-107: Newspaper articles by Frederick, 1913-1950 (scattered); as well as newsclippings about Frederick, 1901-1966 (scattered) have been microfilmed, and a positive microfilm is available for research use. The original newsclippings have been discarded.


Christine (MacGaffey) Frederick was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 6, 1883. Her parents, Mimi (Scott) and William R. Campbell, separated soon after her birth; in 1894 her mother married Wyatt MacGaffey, a lawyer who adopted Christine. In 1907 Christine McGaffey (the spelling she later chose) married Justus George Frederick, a business executive, writer, and editor.

After their marriage the Fredericks moved to New York where Frederick began a career as a home economist, lecturer and author. She and her husband helped found the Advertising Women of New York in 1912, because women were refused admission to the men's advertising club. She campaigned for more efficiency in the kitchen, arguing that women ought to have more efficient equipment and experiment with improved techniques just as businessmen and farmers were doing. To test her theories, Frederick set up and directed a model kitchen, the Applecroft Home Experiment Station, on Long Island. She was credited with bringing about the standardization of the height of kitchen counters and work surfaces, and with encouraging the design of kitchens to save steps for the women using them. Frederick lectured on the Chautauqua circuit, 1917; was a contributing or consulting editor for several magazines (including Ladies Home Journal, The Designer, Shrine, and The American Weekly), 1912-1948; wrote several books on household management and the role of women as consumers; and raised four children (David Mansfield [died 1952], Jean, Phyllis and Carol). In 1950 she moved to Laguna Beach, California and began a new career as an interior decorator and instructor at Orange Coast College, retiring in 1957(?).

Christine Frederick died of heart disease on April 6, 1970 at the age of 87. For further biographical information, see Notable American Women, The Modern Period (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980).


The collection is arranged in four series:
  2. SERIES II. WRITINGS BY AND ABOUT. Folders 9-13, Microfilm M-107.
  3. SERIES III. OTHER PAPERS. Folders 14-19.
  4. SERIES IV. PHOTOGRAPHS. Folders 20-38.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 74-161, 80-M19

The Christine (MacGaffey) Frederick papers were given to the Schlesinger Library by Jean Joyce in July 1974 and were processed under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (RC-24669-76-987). Further addenda were given by Jean Joyce in February 1980.


The following books from these papers have been catalogued with the regular library collection:
  1. Christine Frederick, Household Engineering; scientific management in the home. Chicago, American School of Home Economics, 1919.
  2. Christine Frederick, The New Housekeeping; efficiency studies in home management. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Page, 1913.
  3. Christine Frederick, Selling Mrs. Consumer. New York, The Business Bourse, 1929.
  4. Justus George Frederick, Cooking As Men Like It, by J. George Frederick, with an introduction by Mrs. Christine Frederick. New York, The Business Bourse, 1930.

Processing Information

Processed: March 1978

By: Madeleine Bagwell Perez
Link to catalog
Frederick, Christine, 1883-1970. Papers of Christine Frederick, 1887-1970 (inclusive), 1901-1970 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future.

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