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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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Dismantling the Victorian Ideal and the Future of Domesticity

Dismantling the Victorian Ideal and the Future of Domesticity

(p.199) 6 Dismantling the Victorian Ideal and the Future of Domesticity
At Home in Nineteenth-Century America

Amy G. Richter

NYU Press

Chapter 6 charts the changing importance of home as a cultural ideal at the turn of the century and considers the challenges posed by feminism, suburbanization, technology, and a growing focus on personality and privacy. To that end, the documents in this concluding chapter do not record the end of the nineteenth-century home but instead reveal various attempts to think outside of it. Edward Bellamy, Helen Campbell, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman challenge the efficiency of the private home, dismissing it as primitive and calling for modernization. Gertrude Bustill Mossell and A. L. Hall reject the conflation of home and gender roles that constrain women and men. Documents by Mary Abbott, Henry Wilson, and Martha Bensley Bruère celebrate the comfort, informality, and openness offered by the bungalow home and labor-saving devices. Finally, reformer Michael M. Davis, Jr. and the Industrial Housing Associates highlight the interdependence of home and commercial life and spaces for the working class.

Keywords:   feminism, suburbanization, labor-saving devices, modernization, working class, Edward Bellamy, Helen Campbell, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Gertrude Bustill Mossell, Henry Wilson

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