American Home Life, 1880-1930: A Social History of Spaces and Services

Overview

In the pivotal decades around the turn of the century, American domestic life underwent dramatic alteration. From backstairs to front stairs, spaces and the activities within them were radically affected by shifts in the larger social and material environments. This volume, while taking account of architecture and decoration, moves us beyond the study of buildings to the study of behaviors, particularly the behaviors of those who peopled the middle-class, single-family, detached American home between 1880 and ...
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Overview

In the pivotal decades around the turn of the century, American domestic life underwent dramatic alteration. From backstairs to front stairs, spaces and the activities within them were radically affected by shifts in the larger social and material environments. This volume, while taking account of architecture and decoration, moves us beyond the study of buildings to the study of behaviors, particularly the behaviors of those who peopled the middle-class, single-family, detached American home between 1880 and 1930. The book's contributors study transformations in services (such as home utilities of power, heat, light, water, and waste removal), in servicing (for example, the impact of home appliances such as gas and electric ranges, washing machines, and refrigerators), and in serving (changes in domestic servants' duties, hours of work, racial and ethnic backgrounds). In blending intellectual and home history, these essays both examine and exemplify the perennial American enthusiasm for, as well as anxiety about, the meaning of modernity.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Collects eleven papers (based on presentations at a 1989 conference in Beaumont, Texas, sponsored by the McFaddin-Ward House museum) which focus on the ordinary aspects of domestic life--the physical environment and basic functions of the home: its rooms, housekeeping practices, and residents' activities. The home is a subject jam-packed with material evidence of social attitudes and adaptations to modernity. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870498558
  • Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1994
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: American Homes and American Scholars 1
Pt. I Room Life
1 The Modern Look of the Early Twentieth-Century House: A Mirror of Changing Lifestyles 25
2 The Decline of the Memory Palace: The Parlor after 1890 49
3 Children in the House, 1890 to 1930 75
4 Home Libraries: Special Spaces, Reading Places 94
5 A History of American Beds and Bedrooms, 1890-1930 120
Pt. II Home Life
6 "The Family That Plays Together Stays Together": Family Pastimes and Indoor Amusements, 1890-1930 145
7 Parlor Piety: The Home as Sacred Space in Protestant America 162
8 Gardens of Change 190
Pt. III Keeping House
9 Coal Stoves and Clean Sinks: Housework between 1890 and 1930 211
10 Conduits and Conduct: Home Utilities in Victorian America, 1876-1915 225
11 Modernizing Domestic Service 242
Contributors 267
Index 271
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