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At Home in Nineteenth-Century AmericaA Documentary History$
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Amy G. Richter

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780814769133

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814769133.001.0001

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At Home in the Late Nineteenth-Century City

At Home in the Late Nineteenth-Century City

Chapter:
(p.160) 5 At Home in the Late Nineteenth-Century City
Source:
At Home in Nineteenth-Century America
Author(s):

Amy G. Richter

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814769133.003.0006

The domestic ideal that emerged in the 1820s rested on distinctions between marketplace and home, male and female, public and private. At the end of the nineteenth century, changes in American urban life seemed to threaten these distinctions, testing the resilience and adaptability of domesticity in the modern industrial city. Chapter 5 explores the ways in which city living challenged Victorian notions of domestic privacy and considers the range of cultural and spatial responses to this challenge. Jacob Riis, Stephen Crane, William Dean Howells, and Edith Wharton highlight the perceived loss of privacy, respectability, family feeling, and refinement in urban homes—especially in tenements and apartment houses. Documents by Frederick Law Olmstead, Jane Addams, and Eliza Chester depict new public spaces—public parks, settlement houses, and women’s hotels—designed to serve previously domestic functions.

Keywords:   urban life, public park, settlement house, women’s hotel, privacy, Jacob Riis, Edith Wharton, Frederick Law Olmstead, Jane Addams, Eliza Chester

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