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home economics

Household Help for Ladies

art of homemaking cover

Art of Homemaking
Everything you need to know to run your home with ease and style
Habeeb
1973

Prior to the magic of the Internet,  homemaking reference books were pretty standard in every household. I even got one along with my basic Betty Crocker cookbook when I got married back in the early 1980s. Even though there are a disproportionate number of pages devoted to laundry, I am going to give the author props for acknowledging that one can drop their standards on housekeeping perfection.

I also got a kick out of the inside flap that reminds the ladies that regardless of your “liberated” status, you will have to keep house on some level. It also recognizes that even MEN (gasp!) might have to do some housework. Not everyone will be able to afford a maid, so you might need these skills!

This book is a bit better than most by suggesting that women dial back the perfection goals and that shiny floors are not the end all be all. It still does spend a disproportionate amount of pages on ironing and laundry, but unlike similar books of the period, they include basic electrical and plumbing repairs and some other chores that aren’t often associated with “women’s work.”

Mary

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Home Ec Flashback

teen homemaker cover

Teen Guide to Homemaking
Brinkley, Chamberlin, Champion
1977

This could have been my high school text for home ec and the pictures could have come straight from my high school yearbook. All that is missing is a soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever.  Just to give some context, microwaves were still pretty new at this time and this text doesn’t even mention them. The featured picture below talks about self-cleaning ovens and self-defrosting freezers, which constituted some seriously fancy features.

I swear, none of this seems “that” long ago in my head. Excuse my age crisis, but younger staff members/patrons have often said something like, “Ask Mary, she is old enough to remember… (insert anything “old” like a typewriter, presidents before Reagan, etc)”

Not that old (really),

Mary

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Home Ec Memories

Exploring Home and Family LivingExploring Home and Family
Fleck, Fernandez and Munvez
1965

This book showed up in a book donation and I had a blast flipping through the pages. From what I could tell, it is a refugee from a high school and it is practically showroom new! WorldCat shows holdings in mostly university libraries which is where this gem needs to reside.  In the meantime, you can enjoy this flashback to the early 1960s. Every picture seemed to be reminiscent of a Doris Day movie. My personal favorite picture is the “pajama party”.

Mary

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