A Treatise on Domestic Economy

Catherine Esther Beecher
A Treatise on Domestic Economy,
by Catherine

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Catherine Esther Beecher
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Title: A Treatise on Domestic Economy For the Use of Young Ladies
at Home and at School
Author: Catherine Esther Beecher

Release Date: June 14, 2007 [eBook #21829]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
E-text prepared by Jason Isbell, Karen Dalrymple, and the Project
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Transcriber's note:
Page numbers 10 and 370 were skipped in the original text; they are not
missing. There were two pages 355 and 356 in the original; the two
between page 354 and the first page 355 have been renumbered 354a
and 345b and references to them in the text changed accordingly.
Printer errors were corrected silently and hyphenation was made
consistent, but variant spellings have been preserved.

For the Use of Young Ladies at Home, and at School.
Revised Edition, With Numerous Additions and Illustrative

New-York: Harper & Brothers, 82 Cliff Street. 1845.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1842, by Thomas H.
Webb, & Co., in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of


whose intelligence and virtues have inspired admiration and respect,
whose experience has furnished many valuable suggestions, in this
work, whose approbation will be highly valued, and whose influence,
in promoting the object aimed at, is respectfully solicited, this work is
dedicated, by their friend and countrywoman,

The author of this work was led to attempt it, by discovering, in her
extensive travels, the deplorable sufferings of multitudes of young
wives and mothers, from the combined influence of poor health, poor
domestics, and a defective domestic education. The number of young
women whose health is crushed, ere the first few years of married life
are past, would seem incredible to one who has not investigated this
subject, and it would be vain to attempt to depict the sorrow,
discouragement, and distress experienced in most families where the
wife and mother is a perpetual invalid.
The writer became early convinced that this evil results mainly from
the fact, that young girls, especially in the more wealthy classes, are
not trained for their profession. In early life, they go through a course
of school training which results in great debility of constitution, while,
at the same time, their physical and domestic education is almost
wholly neglected. Thus they enter on their most arduous and sacred
duties so inexperienced and uninformed, and with so little muscular
and nervous strength, that probably there is not one chance in ten, that
young women of the present day, will pass through the first years of
married life without such prostration of health and spirits as makes life
a burden to themselves, and, it is to be feared, such as seriously
interrupts the confidence and happiness of married life.

The measure which, more than any other, would tend to remedy this
evil, would be to place domestic economy on an equality with the other
sciences in female schools. This should be done because it can be
properly and systematically taught (not practically, but as a science), as
much so as political economy or moral science, or any other branch of
study; because it embraces knowledge, which will be needed by young
women at all times and in all places; because this science can never be
properly taught until it is made a branch of study; and because this
method will secure a dignity and importance in the estimation of young
girls, which can never be accorded while they perceive their teachers
and parents practically attaching more value to every other department
of science than this. When young ladies are taught the construction of
their own bodies, and all the causes in domestic life which tend to
weaken the constitution; when they are taught rightly to appreciate and
learn the most convenient and economical modes of performing all
family duties, and of employing time and money; and when they
perceive the true estimate accorded to these things by teachers and
friends, the grand cause of this evil will be removed. Women will be
trained to secure, as of first importance, a strong and healthy
constitution, and
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