The rise of a new Northern middle class brought with it new ideals of family life and gender roles. While men worked outside the home, women were to preside over the domestic sphere, not only by performing household labor but also by setting a moral example for children and creating a haven that was protected from the outside world. This frontispiece and title page came from a popular 1869 guide to the “formation and Maintenance of Economical, Healthful, Beautiful, and Christian Homes.” Expanded and reprinted after its first publication in 1841, the book instructed young women on their proper role in the middle-class home. Its lessons about Domestic Science ranged from the correct way to raise children to the appropriate type of picture to hang in the parlor.
Source: Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, The American Woman’s Home or, Principles of Domestic Science . . . (1869)—American Social History Project.