New book celebrates pioneering Indiana women

April 15, 2011

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - "Divided Paths, Common Ground: The Story of Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis, Pioneering Purdue Women Who Introduced Science into the Home" provides a look at two local Purdue women in home economics who improved life dramatically for their rural counterparts in the early 20th century. Author Angie Klink creates a fascinating story that incorporates heart, humor and history in an engagingly told manner about two very different personalities united in a common goal that forged a path for women throughout Indiana. 

Klink illuminates Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis in a time when women could not vote in governmental elections, and how both women used their natural talents and connections to achieve their goals in spite of a male-dominated society. Klink bases her writing on extensive oral history and archival research, which allows this book to shed new light on the important role females at Purdue played in improving the quality of life for Hoosier women. 

Matthews, the founder and first dean of the School of Home Economics at Purdue University, created Indiana's first nursery school and authored a popular textbook, while Gaddis, Indiana's first state leader of Home Demonstration, traveled the state instructing rural women about nutrition, hygiene, safe water, child care and much more. In 1914 "reserved" Matthews hired Gaddis, the "sparkler," to organize Purdue's new Home Economics Extension Service, which linked the two ambitious colleagues. 

Klink has a bachelor's degree in communication from Purdue. She writes advertising copy, personal essays and profiles. She has won 33 American Advertising Federation ADDY Awards, including a 2005 ADDY Award for "Purdue Pete Finds His Hammer." Klink's columns have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She resides in Lafayette, Ind., with her husband and two sons. Learn more about Klink at

This book is available from booksellers or order direct on the web at or by phone at 1.800.247.6553.

Purdue University Press, founded in 1960, is the publishing arm of Purdue University. Dedicated to the dissemination of scholarly and professional information, the Press provides quality resources in several key subject areas including business, technology, health, veterinary medicine and other limited disciplines in the humanities and sciences. The Press annually publishes more than 25 books, five traditional journals and 10 open access journals. For more information, visit

Source: Becky Corbin, Administrative Assistant, University Press, 765-494-2038,