A Word to Women
Mrs Humphry (1898)
The history of women in society and the household is fascinating, enlightening and sometimes amusing. Perhaps the most famous name associated with etiquette and how to behave is Emily Post, but she certainly wasn't the first to introduce the concept of proper manners and behaviour.
While many of the ideas proposed to women 100 years ago seem odd to us modern day people, and should be taken with a grain of salt and a sense of humour, these rules and concepts were the norm at the turn of the last century.
In the 1800s, women's roles included spending their time reading, sewing, writing letters, overseeing the servants, managing the household and dressing appropriately according to one's social status.
Numerous books were written on this subject including home management, family economics, help for the new mother, how to court the other sex and occupations available to women.
This selection of fascinating literature features an incredible array of how-to books, guides and manuals for ladies, young women, wives, mothers, brides, housekeepers and more.
See our selection of Gentlemen's Guides.
Nelson's Home Comforts
Many old fashioned recipes including collared eel and brain fritters.
Common Sense in the Household
A comprehensive guide to the cooking with additional chapters on servants, the sick room, and the nursery.
The Successful Housekeeper
A book on household management - probably the first female author to earn their living doing this.
How to Behave
Advice on four topics including letter writing, conversation, etiquette and business.
The Household Handy Book
Information for young women that may enable them to add pleasure and usefulness to their lives.
What Can a Woman Do
Mrs M.L. Raynesold
Late 19th century exploration of occupations open to American women.
The American Woman's Home
Catherine E. Beecher
From ventilation to decoration, exercise and food to sleep habits, manners and order to charity work.
Woman in her Various Relations
Mrs L.G. Abell
Standard duties of American women, followed by a defense of the traditional role of women in society.
The Lady's Guide to Perfect Gentility
by Emily Thornwell
A useful instructor in letter writing, toilet preparations, needlework, care of wardrobe, teeth, hands, lips and complexion.
How to Manage a Country House
by Charles Estienne
Originally published in 1554, contains advice on different aspects of the country household