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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lillian Tingle: Portland's First Market Inspector, May-June 1905

When Esther Pohl served on the Portland City Board of Health from 1905-1907 (following Mae Cardwell, who was the first woman on the city board from 1903-1905) and as Portland City Health Officer from 1907-1909 (the first woman in the U.S. to hold such a position in a large city) she worked with Sarah A. Evans, Portland's market inspector from 1905-1935. Evans gained notoriety for her work and she and Pohl became lifelong friends.

But Sarah Evans was not the first market inspector in the city. That honor goes to Lillian Tingle. The story of Portland women's grassroots movement for pure food and a market inspector that I'm blogging this week helps explain why.

Lillian Tingle, Oregon Journal, April 14, 1905, 8

As an 1895 graduate of the Educational Trust School of Domestic Economy in Aberdeen, Scotland with additional graduate work at Gordon's College in Aberdeen in chemistry and physiology Tingle was an early participant in the domestic science movement that led to instruction in home economics on a scientific basis in public and private schools and in colleges and universities. Women scientists like Tingle found employment in this movement and worked with civic and women's groups to build cleaner and healthier communities. Tingle taught in Scotland and in North Dakota and then came to Portland sometime in 1901 or 1902 to work in the office of the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop a course of study for domestic science in the state. And she then accepted the directorship of the Portland Y.W.C.A.'s School of Domestic Science, the position she held in the spring of 1905 when Portland women visited food markets, established a boycott, and called for the appointment of a market inspector.

Portland's city council and mayor George Williams were reluctant to do so, but with public pressure agreed to appoint a female market inspector with the advice and recommendation of the board of the YWCA's School of Domestic Science. Lillian Tingle was their unanimous choice and she accepted the position on April 24, 1905 to begin May 1.

Why did Lillian Tingle resign two months later? Stay tuned!

For more on the domestic science/home economics movement see Margaret Rossiter, Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982)
See also:
"Women in Earnest: Demand That Meat Markets of Portland Shall Be Kept Clean," Oregon Journal, April 14, 1905, 1.
"Woman Named as Inspector of Markets in Portland," Oregonian, April 25, 1905, 16.

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