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Martha Van Rensselaer and the Delineator's homemaking department

Mary Ellen Zuckerman (School of Business, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York, USA)

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 2 August 2013




The purpose of this paper is to look at the role played by home economists in providing information to consumers about household products. The work of home economist and educator Martha Van Rensselaer is reviewed, specifically her time as editor of the homemaking department of women's magazine Delineator from 1921‐1926.


The paper used qualitative analysis of the content of the homemaking department under Van Rensselaer as well as quantitative analysis of the advertising during those years. Documents from several manuscript collections were used as well.


Content analysis showed a shift over the years from 1921‐1926 from broader social themes to greater emphasis on specific homemaking tasks. Ads were regularly placed next to related editorial content, but under Van Rensselaer no brand names were mentioned editorially.

Research limitations/implications

Since this research focused on one magazine, comparison with homemaking departments in other women's journals at this time would provide useful context.


The specific example provided illuminates the evolving relationship between advertisers, home economists, media and consumers.



Ellen Zuckerman, M. (2013), "Martha Van Rensselaer and the Delineator's homemaking department", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 370-384.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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