Academy Foundation Blog

Remembering Lulu Graves during Women’s History Month: Her Legacy and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation


During Women’s History Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation celebrates pioneers who have made a lasting impact.

Lulu Graves, RD, was a trailblazer within the nutrition and dietetics profession for all those who would follow. This March, with celebrates both Women’s History Month and National Nutrition Month®, is the ideal time to recognize her accomplishments. Born in Fairbury, Nebraska, Graves trained as a teacher and taught to save money for college, helping her to earn a degree in home economics at the University of Chicago in 1909.

Early in her career, Graves was associate professor of home economics at Iowa State College, then professor of home economics at Cornell University, where she began a training program for hospital dietitians. Over the course of her career, Graves held several hospital positions, including first resident dietitian at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago in 1911 (where she designed a special bland diet for typhoid fever patients), head dietitian at Lakeside Hospital in Cleveland in 1914, and superintendent of the dietary department at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Lulu Grace Graves 1874-1949

In 1917, Graves and Lenna Frances Cooper founded the American Dietetic Association, what is now known as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, for hospital dietitians to meet and discuss the public health and food conservation needs during World War I. Graves holds the distinction of serving as the first President of the Academy. While she was in office, and after her term ended, Graves was editor of the Dietetics and Institutional Food Service department of Modern Hospital magazine.

Graves was an accomplished author during her career and her work includes Modern Dietetics, Feeding the sick in hospital and home, with some studies on feeding well people (1917), Making Food Attractive for the Sick (1926), Diet in the Treatment of Diabetes (1929), Foods in Health and Disease (1932), Scientific Refrigeration in Relation to Nutrition and Health (1936), and A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition (1938, with Clarence Wilbur Taber). She also wrote articles about diet and exercise for national publications including Parents magazine.

In 1947, Graves received the ADA’s highest honor, the Marjorie Hulsizer Copher Award. In 1992, our Foundation established the Lulu G. Graves Nutrition Education Award Fund to honor Grave’s remarkable achievements and place in the history of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This Fund provides an award to support projects and programs of nutrition education. Fundable activities include a program or development of materials for use with a specific population group such as parents of grade school children, pre-school children, persons 70 years of age, etc. In 2020, our Foundation awarded the Lulu G. Graves Nutrition Education Award to Whitney Canfield, and the Georgia Food4Health program she works with. Participants of the program receive funds to be used at a local farmer’s market and take cooking classes within the program, so they can properly cook the veggies they bring home.

Women’s History Month highlights women who have made a difference and opened a world of possibilities for those who follow. Lulu Grave’s accomplishments and influence on generations of nutrition and dietetics professionals through her teaching and mentoring have made a tremendous impact. Our Foundation is proud to honor Lulu Grave’s legacy through this annual scholarship. If you are interested in learning more about Foundation funds that honor Academy member legacies, please contact Elisha Reichling at