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Fred Sampson Purnell | Inducted between 1920 and 1936

U.S. Congressman from Indiana best known for the Purnell Act of 1925 and its impact on rural home economics research.

1882-1939 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)



Impact & Accomplishments


Raised on a farm near Veedersburg, Indiana, Fred S. Purnell studied law at Indiana University, graduating in 1904 and establishing a practice in Attica.


He served in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1917 to 1933 and is best known for sponsoring the Purnell Act of 1925. This legislation for land grant colleges authorized “economic and sociological investigations of the rural home and rural life” and provided some funding for home economics research. The Purnell Act had a result of encouraging more women to attend college.


Did You Know?


Fred S. Purnell (middle), Miss B. McKeldin, & Leon Orlowski, 5/17/24 Photo Source: Library of Congress



The Purnell Act of 1925 provided federal money to facilitate the scientific investigation of vitamins and rural-home-management studies; the research of Cornell home economists was multifaceted, ranging from bacteriology to human behavior. This 1943 bulletin was based on the results of several years of scientific research in human nutrition. Faith Fenton received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and was a pioneer in research on food freezing and vitamin retention. Fenton served in the Cornell College of Home Economics from 1922 until 1959.


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