The business of being a white, middle-class woman changed dramatically over the course of the 20th century. Books written for women–and often by women–about how to run a household lay out plans for cleaning, cooking, keeping oneself well-mannered and well-groomed, taking care of appliances and children, and tending budgets. Books on the business of running a household run the gamut from business manuals to rather subversive texts that tell more about escaping duties than fulfilling them with a smile. But one thing remains the same: these books are for a specific kind of woman, of a specific socio-economic background, and even of a certain age (read: white, upper-middle class, and fairly young, with a working husband and most mod-cons). This blog is an exploration of these texts from a cultural and gendered perspective, seeking to answer questions about the producers of such texts, the audience they seek to connect with, and how they represent and often manufacture the idea of 20th century womanhood.


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