I’ve been thinking a bit about journaling as it pertains to homemaking. An unsourced quote on a few websites indicated that Victorian women were keen on preparing Homemaking Journals that they passed on to their daughters or in-laws. The author claimed that recipes, pet care, advice on laundry, etc. were all topics for these books. I started wondering if these journals really were common place and where we could cull through them for information.
I’m still in the search mode but I’ve found an online exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania that is a step in the right direction. Titled Household Words: Women write from and for the kitchen, the Introduction sums it up best: “The Esther B. Aresty Rare Book Collection on the Culinary Arts comprises cookery manuscripts and published books of recipes, etiquette and household advice. Spanning an historical period from the earliest printed folios of the fifteenth century to the more recent and familiar volumes of the twentieth century, the books represent cultural and geographical diversity ranging from Europe and the New World to the Far East.”
I think that this blog, and many others, are attempting to do the same thing as these writers from the past. We’re sharing our thoughts, our inspirations and our questions, our personal journey through life on a subject that matters greatly to us – our home. I love not only the historical nature of this collection but what it represents; women writing, women sharing ideas, women passing down knowledge. I also love that some of these women were writing in opposition to the customs of the day. Literacy in women wasn’t always considered a good thing.
It surprises me when I read modern women writers who think feminism rescued women from the unenlightened bonds of household servitude. They are missing the point on a large scale, I think. Women of the past, as evidenced by this exhibit, had unfortunately a more limited role in society, but they found their work worthy and the knowledge they possessed important enough to write down and share with others.
There should be plenty of interesting sights along this path, worthy enough to write down and share.