The House Servant's Directory: An African American Butler's 1827 Guide [NOOK Book]


"In order to get through your work in proper time, you should make it your chief study to rise early in the morning; for an hour before the family rises is worth more to you than two after they are up."
So begins Robert Roberts' The House Servant's Directory, first published in 1827 and the standard for household management for decades afterward. A classic survey of work, home life, and race relations in early America, the book was the result of many years of Roberts' personal and professional experiences. One ...
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The House Servant's Directory: An African American Butler's 1827 Guide

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"In order to get through your work in proper time, you should make it your chief study to rise early in the morning; for an hour before the family rises is worth more to you than two after they are up."
So begins Robert Roberts' The House Servant's Directory, first published in 1827 and the standard for household management for decades afterward. A classic survey of work, home life, and race relations in early America, the book was the result of many years of Roberts' personal and professional experiences. One of the first books written by an African-American and published by a commercial press, this manual for butlers and waiters offers keen insight into the social milieu, hierarchy, and maintenance of the antebellum manor.
As a servant to a prominent New England family, Roberts provided valuable insights into what was expected of domestic servants. His book contains an abundance of instructions for successfully completing household chores as well as suggestions for properly cleaning furniture and clothing; and for buying, preparing, and serving food and drink for dinner parties of all sizes (much of which is still useful information today). The text also contains suggestions for arranging servants' work routines, and advice to heads of families on how best to manage their domestic help -- extraordinary recommendations for master-servant relationships and highly unusual for the time.
Among the most famous of etiquette books to provide instruction on proper behavior for domestic servants in the early nineteenth century, Roberts' Directory remains a critical primary source in sociology and African-American history.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486149431
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 8/24/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,337,738
  • File size: 917 KB

Table of Contents

Introduction to the House Servant's Directory
The benefit of early rising to servants
On dress suitable for their work
Cleaning boots and shoes
Cleaning knives and forks
Directions for cleaning steel forks
Trimming and cleaning lamps
Directions for cleaning plate
Cleaning plate with dry plate powder
Cleaning silver and plated articles
Setting up the candles
Cleaning polished steel grates
Directions for cleaning mahogany furniture
Hints on taking out stains from mahogany
Brushing and folding gentlemen's clothes
Brushing and cleaning gentlemen's hats
Regulations for the pantry
Directions for cleaning tea trays
Washing and cleaning decanters
Trimming the cruet stand or casters
To clean tea and coffee urns
Mahogany dinner trays
Remarks on the morning's work in winter
Directions for setting out the breakfast table
Regulations for the dinner table
Laying the cloth, &c.
Setting out the dinner table
Setting out the sideboard
Setting out the side table
Dinner on the table
Waiting on dinner
The first course removed
Second course removed
Placing on the dessert
Preparations for tea and coffee
Carrying round tea and coffee
Observations on supper
Observations on the supper table
Directions for extinguishing lamps, shutting up the house, &c.
Address and behaviour to your employers
Behaviour to your fellow servants
Behaviour of servants at their meals
Hints to house servants on their dress
Remarks on answering the bells
All the various receipts useful for servants to know
1. To make the best liquid blacking for boots and shoes
2. To make boots and shoes water proof
3. Composition to clean furniture
4. Furniture oil for mahogany, most excellent
5. Italian varnish, most superb for furniture
6. Italian polish to give furniture a brilliant lustre
7. To take ink stains out of mahogany furniture
8. An excellent wash for dirty tables, after a party
9. To take the black off the bright bars of polished steel
10. To polish the bars of a polished steel grate
11. The best way to clean a polished steel grate
12. For the black parts or inner hearth of a grate
13. Another excellent black mixture for the same
14. A beautiful mixture to clean brass or copper
15. To give Britannia metal a brilliant polish
16. A beautiful polish for black grates
17. To make the best plate powder
18. A most superb way to clean plate
19. Another way to make plate powder, by J. R. W. of London
20. To clean any kind of plated articles whatever
21. To clean japanned tea and coffee urns
22. To preserve iron or steel from rust
23. To take rust out of steel
24. To blacken the front of stone chimney pieces
25. An excellent composition to blacken stove grates
26. To clean mirrors or large looking glasses
27. To make a beautiful black varnish
28. To give silver a beautiful polish
29. An excellent mastick for mending China and glass
30. A wash to revive old deeds or other writings
31. An excellent wash to keep flies from pictures or furniture
32. To remove flies from rooms
33. To render old pictures as fine as new
34. A varnish that suits all kinds of pictures and prints
35. To take ink spots out of mahogany
36. A most delicious salad sauce, by J. R. W.
37. A great secret to mix mustard, by H. B. London
38. To extract oil from boards
39. To colour any kind of liquor
40. To make liquid currant jam of the first quality
41. A secret against all kind of spots on silk or cotton
42. To make all kinds of syrups of all sorts of flowers
43. To make excellent currant jelly
44. A most delicious lemonade, to be made a day before wanted
45. Lemonade that has the appearance and flavour of jelly
46. To make raspberry vinegar most delicious
47. To make the best wine vinegar in one hour
48. An excellent preparation for vinegar
49. A dry portable vinegar, or vinaigre en poudre
50. To turn good wine into vinegar in three hours
51. To restore that same wine to its former taste
52. To correct a bad taste or sourness in wine
53. To preserve good wine unto the last
54. To recover a person from intoxication
55. To make raspberry strawberry, cherry and all kinds of waters
56. Lemonade water of a most delicious flavour
57. Another excellent lemonade, by R. R.
58. To whiten ivory that has been spoiled
59. A cooling cinnamon water in hot weather
60. An excellent good ratifia, by F. N.
61. A strong aniseseed water
62. To take off spots of any sorrt, from any kind of cloth
63. A great secret against oil spots, &c.
64. To restore carpets to their first bloom
65. To restore tapestries to their former brightness
66. To revive the colour of cloth
67. To take spots out of white cloth, &c.
68. A composition of soap that will take out all sorts of spots
69. Turkey cement for joining all metals, glass, china, &c.
70. To preserve the brightness of fire arms, &c.
71. To remove ink stains from cloth, plaid, silk, worsted, &c.
72. To preserve milk for sea that will keep for six months
73. To preserve apples for the year round
74. To loosen stoppers that are congealed in decanters
75. To take stains out of black cloth, silk, or crape
76. To know whether a bed is damp or not, when travelling
77. To make the best ginger beer
78. To make excellent spruce beer
79. To make a beautiful flavoured punch
80. To cement any kind of broken glass
81. A black varnish for straw or chip hats
82. Blacking for harness that will not injure leather
83. To make a strong paste for paper
84. A water that gilds copper and bronze
85. A wash for gold, silver, silk, or any other kind of embroidery
86. To make iron as beautiful and white as silver
87. To preserve furs or woollen clothes from moths
88. To dye gloves so as to look like York tan
89. To reform those that are given to drink
90. To prevent the breath from smelling, after liquor
91. A wash to give lustre to the face
92. A wash for the hair most superb
93. Excellent paste for the skin
94. A beautiful corn poultice
95. To make the best corn plaster
96. A safe liquid to turn red hair black
97. To refine cider for one barrel
98. To clarify strong or table beer, or ale
99. A cheap and wholesome beer
100. Excellent jumble beer
101. To make excellent ginger beer, for ten gallons
102. A wash to give a brilliant lustre to plate
103. Water proof varnish of the best quality
104. Chinese varnish for miniature painting
105. To make a cement for bottles
Directions for putting dishes on table
Directions for placing all kinds of joints, fowls, fish, &c. on table
Directions for carving
Going to market
How to choose poultry
How to choose fish
A few observations to cooks, &c.
A word to heads of families
Directions how to make a fire of Lehigh coal
Miscellaneous observations, compiled for the use of house servants
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