Q Dear Miss Abigail:
Why did they have housewives in the olden days?
A Dear Mime:
I’ve often wondered the very same thing. Here’s a bit of guilt ~ oops, I mean advice ~ that should give you some insight into those wacky olden days. Richard A. Wells wrote it in 1891 for his book titled Manners Culture and Dress of the Best American Society.
1891: Avoid All Causes for Complaint
Never let your husband have cause to complain that you are more agreeable abroad than at home; nor permit him to see in you an object of admiration as respects your dress and manners, when in company, while you are negligent of both in the domestic circle. Many an unhappy marriage has been occasioned by neglect in these particulars. Nothing can be more senseless than the conduct of a young woman, who seeks to be admired in general society for her politeness and engaging manners, or skill in music, when, at the same time, she makes no effort to render her home attractive; and yet that home whether a palace or a cottage, is the very centre of her being ~ the nucleus around which her affections should resolve, and beyond which she has comparatively small concern.
Source: Wells, Richard A. Manners, Culture and Dress of the Best American Society. Springfield, Mass.: King, Richardson & Co., 1891.
~ p. 529 ~