1888 - 1976

Dr. Ethel Chapman was born and raised on a farm in the Halton Region in 1888. While Dr. Chapman worked hard on her family’s farm she was drawn to the subject of homemaking and home economics. She taught at a local school for a short while before enrolling in the homemaking course at the MacDonald Institute. Upon completing her program Dr. Chapman accepted a position on the staff of the Farmers’ Advocate, a popular farming publication.

Journalism kept Dr. Chapman very occupied throughout her life. After her time working for the Farmers’ Advocate she became the editor of the Farmers’ Magazine, where she remained for 25 years. She also worked as editor for home economics sector of the Women’s Institute’s quarterly magazine Home & Country in 1952. Her sections were recognized as some of the most popular in the publication.

A need to share her love of homemaking led Dr. Chapman to starting several homemaking clubs at the Women’s Institute. She also travelled the province giving lectures on the subject of home economics to large groups of women and their daughters. Dr. Chapman was considered to be especially skilled at breaching the age gap and interesting all the women in her audiences.

Dr. Chapman also used the written word to spread her love of not only home economics but rural farming life. She wrote five books, including the titles “The Homesteaders” and “God’s Green Country.” Her love of her home in Halton shines through her writing, as even Dr. Chapman herself recognizes that many of the locations in her books sound very similar to those in the Halton and Campbellville regions.

In 1966 Dr. Chapman was awarded and honorary Degree of Doctors of Law during a convocation ceremony at the University of Guelph not long after the school received it’s full university status. The following year she was recognized as one of Ontario’s top five agriculturalists during Canada’s centennial celebrations. She was well recognized as a pillar of the agricultural community in Ontario before her death in 1976, and continues to be remembered fondly and honoured by various societies.

Celebrating 150 Years of Canadian Agriculture