Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Having a Blast with online Books About Homemaking

Mrs. Blythe, a fellow blogger, was kind enough to share with us a link to a treasure trove of antique homemaking books -- which contain tons of information. I'm having fun skimming through these old volumes, which are listed at the Digitial Book Index.

So far, I've looked at books from about 1911-1917. I have learned two things: Educators and government agencies provided w0men that era with information that was practical for their particular situation. They took into account if the woman lived in a rural area, a city, or the suburbs. They gave step-by-step instructions about all aspects of homemaking -- from budgeting to cooking to buying furnishings to nursing the sick to what type of curtains were the most practical to how to clean every item in the home, etc.

There is a book, for example, geared to women who kept home in a tenemant flat. The front of the book lists everything that a homemaker in such situation would need, and gives a dollar amount that should be spent. The author of that paticular volume suggested that a stove would cost a whopping $9.00. -- How prices have changed! Though some of the items on the list are things I wouldn't use today, the majority are things every house still needs. I intend to go back and take a closer look at that list to see how my home compares.

Of course, some of the information in these books is out of date. But, a suprising amount of it is useufl today. We can use the information to spur us to thinking how to apply this knoweldge to our own lives. I'm eager to read chapters on organizing a kitchen from various books, as the kitchen is my weakest spot when it comes to having a place for everything and everything in its place.

Secondly, these books unashamedly claimed that a knoweldge of homemaking would add to the beauty, the healthfulness, and the satisfaction of life. I love this quote from a pamphlet entitled, "Three Short Courses in Homemaking", which was designed to be used in rural schools in the Southern U.S.

"The beauty and sacredness of home life should receive emphasis, so that girls may feel the importance of conscientious work in the performance of their household duties. The girls should have some insight into the economic, sanitary, and social problems that are involved in housekeeping, so that they may develop and increased appreciation for the homemaker's work. The two most important things to be taught are the value of cleanliness and order."

How many authors of today could get away with recommending that public school teachers should emphasize the beauty and sacredness of home life to their students?



Wendy WaterBirde said...

Oh Wow! Thank you so much for pointing out that link, its a treasure trove : )

Elizabeth said...

Well, I must thank Mrs. Blythe for the link. I first saw it mentioned on her blog. :)


Mrs Blythe said...

How wonderful. I haven't had chance to go back, but much of what I read was just so timeless and beautiful. I know that much is out of date, like you say, but aren't they just great? Glad you found the link useful :o)