Tag Archives: Godey’s
household

Hints for Home Comforts from 1855

This list appeared in the November 1855 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform and educate the women of America. In addition to extensive fashion descriptions and plates, the early issues included biographical sketches, articles about mineralogy, handcrafts, female costume, the dance, equestrienne procedures, health and hygiene, recipes and remedies and the like.

Hints for Home Comforts

  • A short needle makes the most expedition in plain sewing.
  • When you are particular in wishing to have precisely what you want from a butcher’s, go and purchase it yourself.
  • One flannel petticoat will wear nearly as long as two, if turned behind part before, when the front begins to wear thin.
  • People in general are not aware how very essential to the health of their inmates is the free admission of light into their houses.
  • A leather strap, with a buckle to fasten, is much more commodious than a cord for a box in general use for short distances; cording and uncording is a nasty job.
  • Sitting to sew by candlelight by a table with a dark cloth on it is injurious to the eyesight. When no other remedy presents itself, put a sheet of white paper before you.
  • People very commonly complain of indigestion; how can it be wondered at, when they seem, by their habit of swallowing their food wholesale, to forget for what purpose they are provided with teeth.
  • Never allow your servants to put wiped knives on your table, for, generally speaking, you may see that they have been wiped with a dirty cloth. If a knife is brightly cleaned, they are compelled to use a clean cloth.
  • There is not anything gained in economy by having very young and inexperienced servants at low wages; they break, waste, and destroy more than an equivalent for higher wages, setting aside comfort and respectability.
  • No article in dress tarnishes so readily as black crape trimmings, and few things injure it more than damp; therefore, to preserve its beauty on bonnets, a lady in nice mourning should in her evening walks, at all seasons of the year, take as a companion an old parasol to shade her crape.
  • A piece of oil-cloth (about twenty inches long) is a useful appendage to a common sitting-room. Kept in the closet, it can be available at any time to place jars upon, etc, which are likely to soil your table during the process of dispensing their contents; a wing and duster are harmonious accompaniments to the oil-cloth.
  • In most families many members are not fond of fat; servants seldom like it—consequently there is frequently much wasted; to avoid which, take off bits of suet fat from beefsteaks, etc, previous to cooking; they can be used for puddings. With good management, there need not be any waste in any shape or form.
  • Nothing looks worse than shabby gloves; and, as they are expensive articles in dress, they require a little management. A good glove will last six cheap ones with care. Do not wear your best gloves to concerts or assemblies where full dress is not required— the heat of the gas, etc, gives a moisture to the hands, that spoils the gloves; do not wear them in very wet weather; as carrying umbrellas, and drops of rain, spoil them.
  • A given quantity of tea is similar to malt— only giving strength to a given quantity of water, as we find therefore any additional quantity is waste. Two small teaspoonfuls of good black tea, and one three parts full of green, are sufficient to make three teacupfuls agreeable, the water being put in, in a boiling state at once; a second edition of water gives a vapid flavor to tea.
  • It may sound like being over particular, but we recommend persons to make a practice of fully addressing notes, etc, on all occasions; when, in case of their being dropped by careless messengers (which is not a rare occurrence), it is evident for whom they are intended, without undergoing the inspection of any other parties bearing a similar name.
  • Children should not be allowed to ask for the same thing twice. This may be accomplished by parents, teacher (or whoever may happen to have the management of them), paying attention to their little wants, if proper, at once, when possible. The children should be instructed to understand that, when they are not answered immediately, it is because it is not convenient. Let them learn patience by waiting.
  • We know not of anything attended with more serious consequences than that of sleeping in damp linen. Persons are frequently assured that they have been at a fire for many hours, but the question is as to what sort of fire, and whether they have been properly turned, so that every part may be exposed to the fire. The fear of creasing the linen, we know, prevents many from unfolding it, so as to be what we consider sufficiently aired; but health is of more importance than appearances; with gentleness, there need be no fear of want of neatness.
  • If the weather appears doubtful, always take the precaution of having an umbrella when you go out, particularly in going to church; you thereby avoid incurring one of three disagreeables: in the first place, the chance of getting wet— or encroaching under a friend’s umbrella— or being under the necessity of borrowing one, consequently involving the trouble of returning it, and possibly (as is the case nine times out of ten) inconveniencing your friend by neglecting to return it. Those who disdain the use of umbrellas generally appear with shabby hats, tumbled bonnet ribbons, wrinkled silk dresses, &c. &c., the consequence of frequent exposure to unexpected showers, to say nothing of colds taken, no one can tell how.
Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

maid

A Tribute to Old Maids

In a little work entitled “Our Peculiarities,” by Viscountess Combermere, there is the following fine tribute to the class of old maids:

These single women, whom it is the cant of society to ridicule, may have often postponed their own settlement in life from the highest motives; filial devotion has, perhaps, engrossed them so entirely in early life that no selfish object diverted them from its holy duties.

It was sufficient to satisfy affection and to supersede hope; for the devoted, generous child, from the intensity of her love, has felt that the future must ever be a blank, when the interest that engrosses the present is withdrawn by death; and this dreary prospect adds another motive to her tenderness.

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brass-bed

Sleep Talking – Godey’s Lady’s Book May 1832

This is merely a modification of somnambulism, and proceeds from similar causes, namely, a distribution of sensorial power to the organs of speech, by which means they do not sympathize in the general slumber, but remain in a state fit for being called into action by particular trains of ideas.

If, for instance, we dream that we are talking to some one, and if these organs are endowed with their waking share of sensorial power, we are sure to speak. Again, the mere dream, without a waking state of the organs, will never produce speech; and we only suppose we are carrying on conversation, although, at the time, we are completely silent. To produce sleep talking, therefore, the mind, in some of its functions, must be awake and the organs of speech must be so also. The conversation, in this state, is of such subjects as our thoughts are most immediately occupied with; and its consistency or incongruity depends upon that of the prevailing ideas being sometimes perfectly rational and coherent: at other times full of absurdity.

The voice is seldom the same as in the waking state. This I would impute to the organs of hearing being mostly dormant, and consequently unable to guide the modulations of sound. The same fact is observable in very deaf persons, whose speech is usually harsh, unvaried, and monotonous. Sometimes the faculties are so far awake, that we can manage to carry on a conversation with the individual, and extract from him the most hidden secrets of his soul. By such means things have been detected, which would otherwise have remained in perpetual obscurity.

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tulips-65305_1280

How to Plan a Flower Garden (1852)

Flower Gardens are of two kinds: those which are planted with flowers indiscriminately in the borders are called mixed flower gardens; and those which are of a regular shape as shown in the figures, and which are planted in masses of flowers of one kind, are called geometrical flower gardens.

Plans for Flower Gardens - Godey's Lady's Book, 1852

Plans for Flower Gardens – Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1852

Mixed flower gardens require comparatively little care to arrange and keep in order, as the principal objects to be attended to are to have the tallest plants placed furthest from the eye, and to keep the plants sufficiently distinct to prevent them from being drawn up for want of room.

The geometrical flower garden, on the other hand, requires great care in its arrangement; for, as the plants form masses of color, if the colors do not harmonize with each other, they produce a very bad effect.

It is, therefore, necessary to draw out a plan for a flower garden, and to color it before it is planted, as then, if the colors do not harmonize, they can be changed with little trouble.

Plans for Flower Gardens - Godey's Lady's Book, 1852

Plans for Flower Gardens – Godey’s Lady’s Book, 1852

In a geometrical flower garden, the colors must be contrived so as to produce a striking effect contrasted with each other, and the plants must be so chosen as to be nearly of the same size, so that the garden, when seen at a distance, may have the effect of a Turkey carpet.

The walks in a geometrical flower garden are either grass or gravel, but as in the latter case they must be bordered with box, the garden generally looks better when the beds are on grass.

Source: Godey’s Lady’s Book, March, 1852 – Plans for Flower Gardens

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.


school-outdoors

A Helpmate School Committee (1874)

Some time ago, as the readers of the Lady’s Book may remember, a suggestion was made in these pages that every Board of School-Trustees should be assisted in their work by a visiting committee of women , appointed, with defined powers and duties, for inspecting the school, and suggesting any needed improvements in its studies, discipline, and accommodations. It seemed to us unreasonable that mothers, who are expected to have the main charge of the mental and physical training of their children until they go to school, should then see the control, and even the knowledge, of all that concerns this most important duty, taken away from them, and committed to men, who usually have little time, and frequently not much inclination to attend to it.

It is not a little pleasing to find that the same views have been not only entertained in England, but actually carried into effect. The following paragraph from an English paper will show how the question arose, and in what way it was met — a way which seems, under the circumstances, to have been equally ingenious and happy:

“At the Heckmondwich School Board the other day the Finance Committee recommended that a ladies’ committee be appointed to assist in the management of the new school board . The chairman observed that the question was a difficult one, and he thought the best thing the board could do would be to appoint their wives. He accordingly moved a resolution to this effect, and Mr. Wood having seconded it, the resolution was carried unanimously.”

This mode of selecting the “ladies’ committee” must be admitted to have one defect. We take for granted that the electors will not be so ill-advised as to place upon the school board any bachelor or widower, or any member whose wife is not a veritable helpmate. In view of the possibility that such an unfortunate even might occur, it would not be advisable that the selection of members of the committee should be restricted so rigidly as was done in this instance. In every other respect, the example is one which may be commended to the attention of all true friends of education, and, we may add, of women’ s rights; for what better right can a woman have than to see that the education of her children is properly conducted, and that the care of their health is not neglected?

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

Source: Godey’s Lady’s Book, February, 1874
Photo: School children seated at two tables, with their teacher, outdoors, Cincinnati, Ohio. (Details)