"A Skilful Housewife's Book"

I found this interesting book at the library book sale Friday.  It now is sold under the title “ A Mother’s Book of Traditional Household Skills”, but was originally printed in 1852 as “The Skilful Housewife’s Book” by L.G. Abell (Lydia Green Abell).  This book is not only loaded with recipes, home remedies, gardening tips and helpful hints for that day, it contains much sound wisdom that holds so true today.  I have skimmed over the entire book but have only had time to read the first section of the book titled ‘Miscellaneous Moral Hints on the Formation of Character, Habits, Etc.’  I am so enjoying the elegance of the language used.

Here are a couple of quotes from page 17 that I really enjoyed. 


As the bee extracts sweets from the bitterest plants, so the patient and resigned spirit derives instruction and even happiness from the severest misfortunes and the sorest trials.


A more glorious victory cannot be gained over another than this, that when injury began on his part, the kindness begins on ours.

(copyright 2001 by The Lions Press)


The first few chapters are filled with such tidbits as these on topics from the training of the mind to the temper of infants.  Although I may not try many of the home remedies or have the need to treat a mockingbird, this is a very interesting book that is providing me a glimpse into the concerns and activities of the 1850’s housewife.

I tried to find more information about the author and the book, but came up short.  Its reprint can be purchase at various places across the internet, but you may be able to find it at the library. You can see a bit of the original at the Smithsonian’s website.


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One Response to "A Skilful Housewife's Book"

  1. lahbluebonnet says:

    This sounds delightful. I've often wondered if any of my ancestors talked like they wrote back then? I'm assuming none of them did, as I think they were mainly farmers. But I always wonder when I read these old books. =)



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