Mar 022006
Authors: Drew Haugen

This is part one in a three-part series. Check the Collegian every Friday in March for a profile of a famous woman in history.


Even though Ammons Hall was named after Theodosia Ammons' brother, Theodosia still made a sizable contribution to CSU.

Theodosia Ammons was born in 1861 in North Carolina and moved to Colorado 10 years later with her family, where she spent the rest of her life. Daughter of a Baptist clergyman, politics were not a priority for those growing up in the Ammons household.

When once asked by a playmate "Is your father a Democrat or a Republican?" Theodosia replied confusedly, "Neither. He's a Baptist." Theodosia spent her childhood in Denver and received her early education from the Arapahoe Street School in east Denver. After graduation in 1883, Theodosia became a schoolteacher and briefly attended the Universities of Colorado and Denver.

Ammons emerged as a social reformer and feminist in the early 1890s when she forged a close association with Eliza Routt, president of the Denver Equal Suffrage League and member of the State Board of Agriculture. Ammons became an active member of the women's suffrage movement in 1893.

Following her appointment to the State Board of Agriculture, Routt took a strong interest in academic programs of study for women at the state's land grant institutions, primarily the State Agricultural College, now known as CSU.

The chairwoman of a new standing committee on domestic economy and the library, Routt and her committee members instituted a new domestic economy program. The curriculum, which went into effect during the 1895-96 school year, included courses in the chemistry of cooking, home hygiene, sewing and kitchen management.

Ammons was found to be a suitable teacher for the program upon recommendation from Routt and in 1895 at the age of 34, Ammons became professor Theodosia Ammons, Colorado Agricultural College's first domestic economy instructor.

By 1902, Ammons earned the title of Dean of Women's Work, and the domestic economy program gained new staff members and new courses to train teachers and administrators for domestic science work in public schools. The domestic economy department became the social epicenter of campus, hosting faculty dinners and the annual George Washington Day Breakfast.

And although her program was centered around teaching young women to become efficient and educated homemakers, as an activist in the suffragist movement Ammons dedicated a good portion of time to the exposure of her pupils to the social realities of their time. Ammons took her students on tours of hospitals, sanitariums, insane asylums and similar institutions to illustrate the necessity of the principle of female equality.

Through a home economics program, Ammons took the first step in providing practical and vocational education to Colorado women, and in the process became a CSU female leader in history for suffrage and female equality.

Catherine Himmes, Office of Women's Programs and Studies and "Democracy's College in the Centennial State: A History of Colorado State University" by James E. Hansen II contributed to this profile.

Drew Haugen can be reached at

Breakout box:

Schedule of events for Women's History Month:

March 7

Women's Studies Colloquium: "Native Women Left Behind: Listening to the Voices of Native Providers on Sexual Assault in Tribal Communities," by Roe Bubar

4 to 5:30 p.m.

Lory Student Center, room 207

March 8

Women at Noon: "From Euphemisms to the Dreaded Aisle in the Supermarket," by Samantha Senda-Cook

Noon to 1 p.m.

LSC, room 220

March 22

Women at Noon: "The Leadville Trail 100: I Remember When Three Miles was a Long Way to Run," by Shay Bright

Noon to 1 p.m.

LSC, room 220

March 24

"CSU Feminist Art Coffee Hour"

Office of Women's Programs and Studies

112 Student Services building

9 to 11 a.m.

March 29

Women at Noon, "Still Doing It – Video," by Jen Krafchick

Noon to 1 p.m.


March 30

Office of Women's Programs and Studies

112 Student Services building

Clothing Swap: clothes will be donated to Cesar Chavez clothing drive

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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