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Pioneering consumer economist: Elizabeth Ellis Hoyt (1893‐1980)

Elizabeth Parsons (Keele Management School, Keele University, Staffordshire, UK)

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 2 August 2013




This paper aims to contribute to the project of recognising the contribution of female scholars to the development of marketing thought. The paper presents a biography of Elizabeth Ellis Hoyt, a home economist, who contributed to the shaping of contemporary ideas about consumption and the consumer.


Source material used includes the Elizabeth Ellis Hoyt Papers (1884‐2009) in the Iowa State University Archives. The collection contains a variety of materials, of which the most important for this paper were news clippings, personal diaries (1907‐1918), and published and unpublished manuscripts (1953, 1964, n.d.). Also important for this study were two sources published by Alison Comish Thorne, Elizabeth Hoyt's PhD student. These include Thorne's autobiography Leave the Dishes in the Sink and her entry on Elizabeth Hoyt in the Biographical Dictionary of Women Economists.


The paper documents Elizabeth Hoyt's development of marketing thought, focusing on her early work on the cost of living index and subsequent contributions to an expanded theory of consumption and consumer learning.


Elizabeth Hoyt is one of a group of female home economists who pioneered consumption economics in America in the 1920s and 1930s yet who have been neglected in published accounts. Notwithstanding a short biographical note in the Biographical Dictionary of Women Economists, Hoyt's life and work are not yet documented.



Parsons, E. (2013), "Pioneering consumer economist: Elizabeth Ellis Hoyt (1893‐1980)", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 5 No. 3, pp. 334-350.



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