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Pease, Damaris

Published onJul 30, 2021
Pease, Damaris

(October 21, 1921 - November 3, 1991)

Quick Facts

Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Child Development, Mary B. Welch Distinguished Professor of Home Economics, Professor Emeritus, Iowa State University. 

Damaris Pease was born in Toledo, Ohio on October 21, 1921, daughter of Howard Russell Pease and Betty Lea Lincoln Pease.  She grew up in Toledo and graduated from Conneaut High School in 1939.  She then attended Ohio State University and graduated with a B.S degree in 1944.  She was honored by membership in Phi Upsilon Omicron (scholastic honor society in family and consumer sciences),   She began graduate studies at Ohio State in a program in conjunction with the Merrill-Palmer School in Detroit, Michigan and received an MS degree in 1946.  While there, she was a member of Phi Lambda Theta (honor society for educators), Omicron Nu (home economics), and Phi Kappa Phi (all discipline.)

After finishing graduate school, Pease embarked on an academic career, teaching as an Instructor of Home Economics at the University of Kansas from 1946 to 1948 and then as Instructor of Home Economics at Ohio State from 1948-1950.  At that point, she left Ohio State to pursue a PhD at Cornell University.  While at Cornell she was a graduate assistant, and was awarded the PhD in Child Development and Family Relations in 1953.  Her dissertation was entitled The Relationship Between Homogeneity of Growth Pattern and Social Interaction in Preadolescence.  It was a study of the inter-relatedness of mental, physical, social, and emotional development in children in which she used statistical analysis showing that children who develop all these aspects of growth concurrently show a higher correlation of positive social interactions with other children than those who do not. 

Upon finishing her PhD at Cornell, Dr. Pease came to Iowa State College (now University) and began teaching as an Assistant Professor of Child Development.  She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1956 and to Professor in 1963.  In 1970, she was awarded the Mary B. Welch Distinguished Professorship in Home Economics.  The citation read in part “In Damaris Pease are combined a thorough knowledge of her field, a stimulating and vibrant manner, sensitivity to individuals, and professional commitment.”

Dr. Pease taught courses in principles of child development and its various phases, social development and motor development, and child-parent relations.  She was also a full member of the Graduate College, supervised 24 PhD students and 33 Masters students to the completion of the degrees, directed the graduate program in the Department of Child Development, and spent about half of her professional time in research on departmental projects involving mothering young children and both social interaction and motor performance. 

She was a prolific author in the area of child development.  In 1961, with co-author Glenn R. Hawkes, she published Development of the School Age Child.  Topics included the world of the school age child, relationships with family members and adults outside the home, peer relationships, physical growth and motor development, intellectual development, emotional development, personal development, development and effect of interest in reading and mass media, the developmental process and principles of growth, guiding the school age child, and observing children. The following year, they also published the textbook Behavior and Development from 5 to 12.  She developed the Child Development Laboratory Notebook and co-authored Iowa Parent Behavior Manual with S. J. Crase and S. Clark.  Dr. Pease also co-authored at least 30 articles published in professional journals including the Iowa State University Research Foundation, Inc., Iowa State Journal of Research, Educational and Psychological Measurement, Journal of Genetic Psychology, Journal of Home Economics, Iowa Farm Science, Journal of Nutrition Education, Journal of Nursery Education, Journal of Psychology Interdisciplinary and Applied, and the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 

Dr. Pease was also involved in some notable research projects.  She was appointed to the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station and led two North Central Regional Projects.  She conducted studies on the needs of families and children for day care services.  In 1955, she was the principal investigator for the Multiple Mothering research project, which was one of the first longitudinal empirical studies in the Department of Child Development.  In 1961-62, she won a grant from the Alumni Achievement Fund for research on physical fitness of school age children.  The following year she won a Health, Educational, and Welfare grant from the Institutes of Mental Health to research cycles of emotional development in infancy.  In 1968, she traveled to Puerto Rico to consult with home economics teachers who were studying child development. 

Dr. Pease was also involved in many other professional activities.  She was a member of the Society for Research in Child Development, the National Association for Education of Young Children, the Iowa Home Economics Association, the American Home Economics Association, the Iowa Association for Nursery Education, and the National Association for Nursery Education.  She was a board member of the National Council of Organizations for Children and Youth and the American Home Economics Association, chairman of the Center for the Family, the Iowa representative to the North Central Region II Resource in Family and Child Development, technical consultant for the Journal of Home Economics, and a member of the editorial board of Home Economics Research Journal. 

A number of honors came to Dr. Pease.  Beside her Distinguished Professorship at Iowa State, she was chosen Teacher of the Year in the College of Home Economics by her students in 1968, received the ISU Alumni Faculty Citation in 1969 for her teaching and research and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Ohio State University in 1972. She was promoted to Professor Emeritus on her retirement in 1987.

Before and after her retirement, Dr. Pease also pursued a number of hobbies, including wood working, gardening, and raising tropical fish.  She was a member of the Ames Rock and Mineral Club.

Dr. Damaris Pease died tragically as a result of a car accident in Barnum, Minnesota on November 3, 1991.  She was interred beside her parents in Ames Municipal Cemetery.  In accordance with her request, her estate of $300,000 was used to establish the Damaris Pease Family and Consumer Science Fellowship Fund.

Selected Sources

A major source of information on Dr. Damaris Pease is found in the Damaris Pease Papers, RS 12/4/52, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives.  It includes biographical information, several editions of the Child Development Laboratory Notebook, correspondence, reports, surveys, Peabody Tests, research projects, publications, scrapbooks, photographs, slides, testing materials and equipment, and more.  A 1970 annual report on one of her research projects is also found in Special Collections under Family and Consumer Services Research Institute Records 1920-1988, RS 12/2, Box 6, Folder 2.  In addition, a copy of her doctoral dissertation is also in Special Collections under call number HQ769 P476x 1953.  Copies of her two books with co-author Glenn R. Hawkes can be found in the Parks Library General Collection. 

Online information includes a concise but thorough biography of Dr. Pease on the website of the Iowa State University Plaza of Heroines. 

Family information can be found in the 1930 and 1940 U. S. Federal Censuses and Public Member Family Trees at      

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