Home Ec-50’s style

Young Living coverYoung Living

This could be a fun book to browse…at a museum or archive of some sort. Sadly, there are quite a few public libraries listed in WorldCat that still have this book on their shelves.

I love the page that this submitter scanned from the book. Now there’s some sweet decor and fashion! I am impressed that they had an automatic dishwasher, though.


Yout Living


  1. Love the mid-century modern decor…but isn’t that the “Jesus fish” on the back wall?

  2. I want this book!! Yes, it is totally inappropriate for any current YA collection. But zillions of other people would love to have it.

    Don’t you love how the dishwashing girls all look a lot alike, so they look like one girl growing up?

  3. The pictures are kind of amazing but the text is truly disturbing. I wonder what else is in this book:

    “For a happy home, never let your man see you without a smile.”
    “Don’t ruin a swell party by discussing your opinions.”
    “Don’t breathe in too hard or you may appear to be overweight.”

    So glad I missed out on this era of education.


  4. I love the decor – though I’m more likely to have a giant Star Of David on my wall rather then a Ichthys. LOL And the clothes are to die for.

    However, yeah, the book needs to be weeded and sent somewhere for historical archiving.

  5. I’ve never seen a waist-high dishwasher before. It fascinates me. Was this common for the 50’s/60’s?

    Red was really, really popular back then. It almost makes my eyes hurt.

  6. Outdated, but I love it, especially the photographs. A few years ago I was helping my mother clean her basement and came across her old Home Ec textbook from the 1950’s. It was hilarious to read with gems like “Only newspaper boys use shoulder bags, ladies have clutches” and “Avoid smoking in public places such as the sidewalk or street, people may get the wrong impression about you.”

  7. Wow. This would be fascinating to look at. Love the ultra-saturated colors and mid-century “home of tomorrow” look. I’d also love to know what the teenager is spinning on her hi-fi!

    Strange to how attitudes have both changed and remained the same. For instance, most ads for any kind of cleaning product still mainly feature women using/demonstrating them in domestic settings…

  8. I know ya’ll are just kidding about that fish as Christian symbol, but clearly it’s a faux Paul Klee sort of fish.

    “Having a goal will change your attitude toward the task . . . This way of thinking is far better for your personality than the habit of worrying and putting off.”

    Truer words were never writ! Where can I get a copy of this book?

    1. I live in the Bible Belt South, honey, and let me tell you, I see that symbol on bumper stickers morning, noon, and night. It may be Paul Klee above the Mason-Dixon line, but it’s the “Jesus Fish” here ya’ll!

      1. Hi, Deb. Yes, of course that fish is used everywhere as a symbol of Christian faith. All I’m saying is that in the context of that photo, it obviously was something else.

  9. dang, deb, you took my comment away, and right off the bat too. i must find and own this book.

  10. I need this book. I collect things like this, I already have an etiquette book from 1948, one from 1962, and my lovely Good Housekeeping book o’ crafts from the 70s.

  11. Dogma in the 50’s? We sure don’t do that today! Wait until 2050 and see what they say about 2009 dogma.

  12. Well, for those whom say they have to have it – I don’t know if these are the 1959 editions but
    I hope my HTML works. Cause long URLs are a pain on the eyes.

    Actually <a href="http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=Nanalee+Clayton"she apparently wrote a slew of these. The most modern I’ve seen so far is 1999.

    I can’t seem to find the 1959 version for sale anywhere. Whomever weeds this should consider putting it up on eBay as what I’ve found indicates people will pay a pretty penny for it.

  13. I am confused about “The Pre-Hi Homemaking Text”, what is pre-hi? I think I would have to be high to make it through this book :-), but I don’t think that is what they mean. Is it referring to pre-high school? Was this a popular reference back in the day?

    1. I’m sure it means Junior High. When I was in Jr. Hi. (way back in the long ago days of the early 1970s) all the girls had to take at least one semester of Home Ec. You had to learn how to bake a casserole, make a blouse, balance a checkbook, etc. Even then it was a bit of an eye-rolling (and I still recall crying about my inability to make a collar correctly). On the other hand, I work in a Junior High now and some of these kids have never even turned on a stove or made a salad.

      1. When I was in Junior High back in the late 90s, *everyone,* boys and girls, took one semester of Home Ec, and one semester of shop.

        I got banned from using the sewing machines after managing to break all three, completely by accident, and had to sew my pillow by hand. Never did finish it.

        On the other hand, I also saved my best friend during that same semester. She’d turned on the gas stove, and put a pot on top without checking to see if the flame had lit. She was so used to electric stoves, she didn’t realize that it was just emitting gas. I smelled it, turned off the gas, and started flapping a towel at it to aim it out the window. After the teacher demonstrated how the stove actually worked, Ashley thanked me.

        I much preferred shop class. Though one of my classmates was the first person in 20 years to manage to hurt herself on one of the machines. She nicked her thumb on the bandsaw while momentarily distracted. Lot of blood, but thankfully nothing major.

  14. I was intrigued by the “celtotex” credit on the photo, and found this:
    “Celotex was a Delaware corporation reincorporated in 1964, which manufactured and distributed roofing and building products for residential and commercial use.”

    Sigh- better living through chemistry fails again.
    I guess that the image was originally for selling flooring.

    As for pre-hi, I guess it is what we not call middle school, 6-8th grade. I went to a 7-9th grade “junior high.”

  15. Beggar1015–I never have seen a waist high dishwasher either but I think it is a very good idea! I still have my Dad’s 1950’s ice crusher for mixed drinks (it is RED!) and his martini shaker.There were some good appliances back then especially those designed to foster the consumption of alcohol.

  16. Well, its a bit outdated (ok, very outdated), but the lessons are true : learn to be responsible with chores and keeping your belongings organized young in life, and keeping your first post-college apartment from looking like a tornado went through it will be a breeze. Man, I could’ve used a book like this! 🙂

  17. I finally live in a home with a dishwasher after years without. Most of us growing up in that era didn’t have one, hence all the “fun” washing dishes!! I surely don’t mind it now.

  18. Just tried to buy this on Alibris and Amazon, but tragically, can only find the updated version from the ’80s.

    Another impulse purchase foiled…

  19. Shouldn’t the caption say that the girls are learning to do the housework “so that HE will always enjoy a beautiful home”? When you are so busy cleaning up, you don’t have time to enjoy it. Yeah, dirt!

  20. The photographer says: “Will you just smile and hold a dish? Pretend you like it”

  21. My things are usually messy and untidy. Is that why no one ever has swing dances in my living room?

  22. Hmm. The kid on the floor next to the record changer appears to be listening to Sinatra’s “Wee Small Hours” album.

  23. OMG: I just found this book on our shelves.

    Page. 163. A young girl in a party frock is sitting on a chair in front of a mirror, putting gloves into a clutch handbag. The caption reads ” The well-groomed girl looks better that the other kind doesn’t she?”

    It is Just Screaming WEED ME, PLEASE WEED ME. So I did.