Cottage baby Mike, Farmington State Normal School, ca. 1939Item 69632 info
Mantor Library at UMF
One of the most unique aspects of Home Economics education in the United States was the "practice baby." For students to truly understand the science of home economics and be prepared to teach others, they needed real life experience managing a household and caring for a child. Babies were used at some colleges as early as 1918.
F.S.N.S. did not have its first practice baby, known as the "Cottage baby," until 1927. Little is known about many of the babies.
The campus newspaper and yearbooks indicate some babies came from the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers.
The Home Ec director and the Cottage supervisor retrieved a baby from the home and took the child to the Cottage. Several babies were adopted after their stay in the Cottage.
Others babies came from local families and were returned to their homes after their Cottage stay.