“Home is woman’s world, as well as her empire” (Daniel Wise, author of The Young Ladies Counsellor: Or, Outlines and Illustrations of the Sphere, the Duties, and Dangers of Young Women, 1855). This was a popular sentiment about the duties of women for many generations! This week, let’s look at some digital collections that focus on women as homemakers.
The Smithsonian has a terrific online exhibition called The Making of a Homemaker. Focused on housekeeping of the late nineteenth century, featured items include The House and Home: A Practical Book (2 volumes!) and an Encyclopedia of Domestic Economy (learn how to choose a proper teapot).
Cornell University has created HEARTH – Home Economics Archive: Research, Tradition, History. HEARTH is an extremely informative collection of books and journals from the early twentieth century about home economic topics. Subjects explored include Applied Arts and Design, Child Care, and Hygiene.
Little girls were always well-prepared to become homemakers. Playing House: Homemaking for Children, from the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections, provides 5 full-text books on just this training! One of these is Things Girls Like to Do by Elizabeth Hale Gilman. Included in the section on housekeeping is “upstairs work” which means “making beds, tidying bedrooms, and caring for washstands and bedrooms.” How fun…
The UArts Libraries subscribes to the online resource Daily Life through History the details life from ancient times to modern day. To learn more about domestic life in cultures all over the world, select an era and then click on Domestic Life to learn about family life and children. (Note: if you are off-campus, you will have to log-in with your name and library barcode). Also search the UArts Libraries’ catalog for home economics as a subject.