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Illustrated History of the Housewife, 1650-1950
     

Illustrated History of the Housewife, 1650-1950

by Una A. Robertson
 

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Throughout history, effort, enterprise and energy have been expended by women in maintaining the household: cooking, cleaning, lighting, heating, and laundry. This highly illustrated and delightfully written account looks at the changing role of the housewife over three hundred years. The period covered was one of immense social change—new social and

Overview

Throughout history, effort, enterprise and energy have been expended by women in maintaining the household: cooking, cleaning, lighting, heating, and laundry. This highly illustrated and delightfully written account looks at the changing role of the housewife over three hundred years. The period covered was one of immense social change—new social and family relationships, scientific advances and economic developments all had an effect on the housewife, some dramatic, others more gradual. Much of what we now take for granted—instant hot water, heat and light at the flick of a switch, fresh food all year round—would have been inconceivable to the many "household managers" represented in this book. With its use of primary material and rare feel for the social history of domestic life, this book will be an entertaining and informative guide to the many changes which have not only made life easier for the housewife but have altered our perceptions of the role itself.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For those of us who like to look in other people's windows, this history of housewifery is a wonderful book." —The Washington Post
Library Journal
This might more aptly be titled a "history of household technologies used by women of Great Britain over three centuries." The author, who has taught in the Continuing Education Department of the University of Edinburgh, uses personal memoranda, biographies, and household ledgers from England, Wales, and Scotland to explore techniques of cooking, cleaning, lighting, heating, and laundry work. Most sources reveal more about privileged than ordinary households, offering insight, for example, into the evolution of the duties of household servants. Robertson concludes of the housewife that "as her duties have diminished and become less onerous so the perception of her role has also weakened." Yet, though tools and techniques have changed and outside pressures and activities have increased, the "requirements of a household" and the housewife's responsibilities "have changed very little" over 300 years. Readers interested in the history of everyday life will appreciate this book, which includes 75 black-and-white illustrations of varying size and quality. Appropriate for public libraries and academic collections.Linda V. Carlisle, Southern Illinois Univ., Edwardsville
Booknews
Looks at the changing role of the housewife in the UK over 300 years, examining the effects of new social and family relationships, scientific advances, and economic developments on the housewife's life. Much of the material draws on account books and domestic memoranda of housewives from all social classes, as well as "improving tracts" aimed at housewives and their staff. Chapters cover procedures and equipment for aspects of the housewife's work including heating and light, water, servants, cleaning, cooking and food preservation, and leisure. A final chapter explores the role of the housewife outside the home. Includes b&w photos and illustrations. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312222482
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan
Publication date:
07/28/1999
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 9.68(h) x 0.68(d)

Meet the Author

Una A. Robertson is a history graduate who has taught for the University of Edinburgh's Continuing Education Department.

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