Geitel Winakor

Honored by:Glenn and Alyce Fanslow
Brick location:F:20  map

Geitel Winakor was born August 29, 1929, in Springfield, Illinois, and grew up in Urbana, Illinois. (She does not use her first name Thora.) She has a younger sister Bess. Both parents graduated from the University of Illinois. Annette Wright Winakor taught high school home economics before marriage; Arthur Winakor was a member of the university faculty before establishing a private practice as a certified public accountant.

Geitel Winakor attended elementary school in Urbana and grades 7 through 12 at University High School in a 5-year accelerated program. She won a Champaign County legislator's competitive general scholarship to the University of Illinois, receiving an A.B. from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with a major in home economics in 1950. During four years in university, she worked on nine plays a year produced by the Illini Theatre Guild, serving as co-manager of costumes as a senior. Graduating with highest honors, she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Nu, Phi Upsilon Omicron, Mask and Bauble, and other honor societies.

Her academic adviser, Doris Brockway, who initially stimulated her interest in history of costume, encouraged her to attend graduate school. She received an M.S. in home economics from Drexel Institute of Technology in 1951. Her experience as a graduate assistant suggested a possibility of an academic career. Her major professor, Marjorie Rankin, who like Doris Brockway participated in the early social science movement in textiles and clothing, recognized that a doctorate was essential to university teaching (although M. Rankin, later Dean of Nesbitt College at Drexel, does not have a Ph.D.) and suggested economics as a field of emphasis because so few textiles and clothing people were trained in economics.

Geitel Winakor went to Michigan State University as an instructor in Textiles Clothing and Related Arts from 1951 to 1954; from 1954 to 1957 she was an instructor and then assistant professor on the Faculty of Household Science at the University of Toronto. While at Michigan State, she attended the first of four University of Tennessee-Phi Beta Phi summer craft workshops (1953-1965) at Gatlinburg, Tennessee. There she studied weaving and jewelry-making, which provided support for teaching design and non-textile merchandise courses as well as relating to her avocations of crafts and collecting.

Geitel Winakor came to Iowa State University for doctoral study in consumption economics, although her father, whose own Ph.D. was in economics, was ambivalent about her choice of major. Her initial major professor was Edna Douglas, who helped her plan her program of study and encouraged her to take a first minor in statistics. When Dr. Douglas left Iowa State University, Geitel Winakor's adviser became Margaret Liston, whose economics doctorate was from the University of Chicago. Dr. Liston, whose interests were more qualitative than quantitative, helped to introduce Geitel Winakor to developing theoretical work on human capital and also suggested using the Illinois Farm Family Accounts as a data base for dissertation research.

Geitel Winakor received her Ph.D. in 1960 with a second minor in textiles and clothing. As a doctoral student, she held an Omicron Nu-American Home Economics Association fellowship and a General Foods Fund fellowship. She joined the Department of Textiles and Clothing as assistant professor with halftime experiment station appointment, becoming full professor in 1966 and Mary B. Welch Distinguished Professor in Home Economics in 1973. Her major areas of teaching were clothing consumption and history of costume. She wrote or co-authored about 35 research papers in addition to numerous presentations abstracts and book reviews. She directed the research of 42 master's degree students and three doctoral students. (The Textiles and Clothing Department did not offer the doctorate until a few years before Dr. Winakor retired.) She conducted research on clothing consumption with emphasis on supplementary sources such as secondhand clothing and gift clothing. She directed two major surveys as part of projects supported by the Consumer and Food Economics Research Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and designed to develop standard budgets for clothing and household textiles. She examined changes in fashion preference and risk perceived in fashion change, including the influence of medium of presentation, consulting with Leroy Wolins, Professor of Statistics, on affective measurement of preferences and risks. This experience led to research on measurement and evaluation of textile hand and human thermal comfort. She collaborated with researchers in mechanical engineering and architecture on assessment of comfort in indoor environments. She was a member and officer of several regional research committees and played the lead role in establishing NCR-65 a regional conference committee that coordinated and promoted research in c