At Home American Family

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At Home invites the reader into the early American home to learn firsthand what it was like to live in and manage a house before electric lighting, central heating, and modern medicine. Drawing on diaries, letters, household inventories, and novels, Elisabeth Donaghy Garrett offers a richly documented analysis of early American middle-class home life.

Handsomely illustrated with period paintings, drawings, and prints, At Home takes us from the parlor through to the bedchamber, ...

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New York 1990 Hardcover New 0810918943. Text pristine, clean & unmarked, tight to spine-304 pages; with almost 200 paintings, drawings and prints, 101 in color. Among the ... chapter headings: "Welcome Home! ", "The Parlors", "The Dining Room", "The Kitchen", "Lighting Devices and Practices" and " 'The Daily Dog-Trot Routine of Domestic Duties' ". Read more Show Less

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Overview

At Home invites the reader into the early American home to learn firsthand what it was like to live in and manage a house before electric lighting, central heating, and modern medicine. Drawing on diaries, letters, household inventories, and novels, Elisabeth Donaghy Garrett offers a richly documented analysis of early American middle-class home life.

Handsomely illustrated with period paintings, drawings, and prints, At Home takes us from the parlor through to the bedchamber, portraying families gathered around a candlelit table, roaring kitchen fires used both to cook and to heat, and a weekly laundry without the benefit of washing machines. Readers will be both fascinated and charmed by this revealing glimpse of a once-familiar way of life.

Early American home and family life are revealed and described in this richly documented book. 195 illustraions, 101 in full color, 304 pages, 8-1/2 x 10-1/2"

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The tranquil expressions of the women in the period portraits illustrating Garrett's opus belie the deep domestic drudgery of colonial housekeeping. In her scrupulously researched book, the vice-president of Sotheby's Manhattan analyzes early American family life chamber by chamber, studying paintings, personal writings, even poetry. A housewife, judged by her linen closet, exerted herculean efforts maintaining it: countless hours of laundering, repairing and ironing tablecloths and the elaborate bed hangings that kept out the cold. There was the endless polishing of floors and windows, pewter and mirrors, and the equally humble chore of banishing ubiquitous dust, mud and candle drippings. Two final chapters give such toil a human, comprehensible dimension, suggesting that a well-run home was a woman's way of battling, physically and symbolically, the disease and death of her day. So seen, domestic details of floor and wall coverings and furniture style and placement accumulate and resonate. (Oct.)
Library Journal
The vice-president at Sotheby's and associate director of its American Arts Course examines letters, diaries, travel accounts, novels, poetry, household inventories, newspaper advertisements, and housekeeping manuals as well as paintings, prints, and drawings for this study. Garrett's clear, easy style, coupled with nearly 200 illustrations (more than 100 in color), make this book accessible to the general reader. However, because of the thorough research and substantial bibliography, it is more than mere pictorial history and allows comparison with such scholarly works as Stephanie Coontz's The Social Origins of Private Life: A History of American Families, 1600-1900 ( LJ 2/1/89) and America's Families: A Documentary History , edited by Donald M. Scott and Bernard Wishy ( LJ 1/15/82). Recommended for academic and large public libraries.-- Cindy Faries, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810918948
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1998
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 8.75 (w) x 10.75 (h) x 1.12 (d)

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