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Home Collections The Human Ecology Collection Playing House: Homemaking for Children

About the Collection

American domestic advice or homemaking manuals emerged in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and served to advise the housewife in the care and upkeep of the home and its contents and occupants. While most of these manuals were written to assist the “woman of the house”, others aimed at educating young girls, the homemakers of the future. This collection includes digitized versions of books from the UW-Madison collections spanning 1877 to the 1930’s. These books provide instruction on a wide range of topics including cooking, cleaning, laundry, household management and occupational training for young maids. Through them, young girls could learn among other things, the proper way to make a bed, polish the silver, decorate a table, and prepare and serve a nice meal.