Housewife Value

what is a wife worth

What is a Wife Worth?

This book represents an important development in the world of divorce law.  Minton, an attorney from Chicago, argued that stay at home wives were entitled to assets from the marriage. He argued that there was economic value in homemaking. Prior to this time, a high earning husband can walk away with all the marital assets leaving a wife with nothing.

Minton represented a former wife of a Sears Roebuck executive and obtained a settlement arguing that she contributed economically to their 39 year marriage and deserved appropriate compensation.

Is this an important book? I would say so. Conceptually, this is the type of material that should be covered in a general public library collection. Calculating value of a homemaker might be 40 plus years out of date, but this was a huge change in how women were viewed in a divorce settlement. For librarians, context is important. As a help for someone going through a divorce in 2022, this isn’t going to be as helpful as a more up to date reference. For students of women’s rights, this book definitely has a place for historical significance.


homemaker duties

When she puts him through medical school

new marriage law


  1. How hopeful to see a book that doesn’t date itself but finds a place in history. Certainly not for the weeds especially if it is not scanned into the internet. Some people still use CDs and haven’t gone to the cloud yet. Indeed because of economics some people still use books and older technologies still have their place.

    Just because tech makes and sells it doesn’t mean everyone can buy it. I think many times new tech is created looking for an application to justify its existence. Just because people can create it doesn’t mean it meets a need, I think at times new tech is like alcohol and other addictive drugs: they numb us because we don’t get our true needs met. New Tech is the New Self-Medication.

    1. I have plenty of streaming and cloud stuff and 2 Kindles, yet I still buy paper books and CDs. They work when the internet’s down or the power’s off!

      Last time we had a power outage, we turned on some battery-powered lights and an oil lamp and read books to the sound of the transistor radio.

  2. I’d love to see this re-published with a modern forward that explains its historical significance but that you should not rely on it as a guide to today’s legal system. I’d want to borrow this from my public library. As a librarian, I’d want to keep it, but it’d be tempting to recatalog it into the 305s so that no one would stumble across it in the 340s and think it had a current practical application for their divorce.

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