Technology Changes for the Housewife over the Ages Series, Part 1

Virginia R. Bensen

Many of the articles presented so far have discussed domesticity with regard to women’s rights, and how American society during the 1800s stressed the importance of  women to perform their housewife duties rather than to focus on a career or political types of work.

Today as we try to understand domesticity and women, we tend to see the focus on being a housewife as restrictive to women.  If we examine the importance of domesticity to the nineteenth century family through their value system, and look at the many types of tasks that was required to maintain a household, you can start to see why most women did not actively participate in many outside activities. Those women that were active in reform usually had the means to hire servants.

This is the first of a series showing how the development of technology has affected the American housewife.  We will start off with presented  The New Housekeeper’s Manual written by Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Toms Cabin).  This book is available free for download through Google Books.  Just scan through this to see the many tasks that women had to accomplish in order to provide a clean and healthy home, meals, all the while having and raising children.

Just click on the title, here to access The New Housekeeper’s Manual.

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