Resources for Life

It is not polite to invite persons to your house, when you do not desire to see them.

It is not polite to have foul teeth. A brush should be used after every meal.

It is not polite to question others, in idle curiosity, respecting that with which you have no concern.

It is not polite to utter the ideas of another as your own, and thus attempt to shine in borrowed plumage.

It is not polite to take down a book, or any article, in a store or dwelling-house and not return it to its proper place.

It is not polite to stand at the corners of the streets to stare at those who pass, or to make improper remarks.

It is not polite to wear a peculiar dress, or pursue any irregular course for the sake of oddity or notoriety.

It is not polite to speak unadvisedly to another, or to thrust your opinion, unsolicited, upon a neighbor.  

It is not polite to vote for yourself as a candidate for office, or to solicit the votes of your friends.

It is not polite, if you insist on wearing mourning on the death of a friend to wear that mourning garb for too long a period. When we see ladies persist in wearing sable, we are reminded of the reply a young widow made to her mother: “Don’t you see,” said she, “it saves me the expense of advertising for a husband.”

It is not polite for ladies to wear dresses so long that people are continually stepping upon them.   

Hints of Common Politeness (Boston: 1867)

Published in: on March 20, 2014 at 1:38 am  Leave a Comment  

Resources for Life

With regard to the mode of destroying the traffic in liquor in the several villages and cities, it has been substantially the same everywhere.

1. Preparatory prayer in the closet and church, in some instances lasting for two of three weeks, before any effort was made openly by the women to persuade men to quit the business.

2. Circulating the personal pledge of total abstinence; also, for druggists, grocers, real estate owners, lawyers, and physicians.

3. Going out in small companies of two or three, and quietly conversing with dealers, with or without prayer.

4. Increasing the party to five or ten, and praying either vocally or silently in each place visited.

5. Visiting in large bodies daily the several saloons in the town and singing and praying in them, or, if refused access, in front on the pavement or in the street.

In many place in Ohio guards have been assigned to watch the saloons when not invested by the praying-band. These ladies usually took down names of visitors, and sometimes exhorted and plead with them to sign the pledge. This last course was a very unpopular one the saloon keepers.


The following pledges, with slight verbal variations, have been used in the campaign:

Citizens’ Pledge

We, the undersigned, severally pledge ourselves, upon our integrity and honor, to abstain from the use as a beverage of all spirituous liquors, wine, beer, and ale; and that we will not give away or offer in any way the same to others to be so used, or use the same in cooking of for table purposes.

Property-Holders’ Pledge

We, the undersigned property-holders, pledge ourselves not to let or lease our premises (or  premises for which we are agents) in this city or permit them to be used or occupied, for the sale or dispensing in any way of spirituous liquors, wine, beer, or ale.

Dealers’ Pledge

We hereby severally pledge ourselves not to sell, furnish, or give away or allow to be sold or given away by any agent or employee of ours, either by retail or wholesale, any spirituous liquors, wine, beer, or ale.

Physicians’ Pledge

We, the undersigned, upon our honor as professional me, promise here-by not to prescribe the use of spirituous liquors, wine, beer, or ale, only in case of absolute necessity.

Druggist’s Pledge

We, the undersigned druggists, hereby pledge ourselves, upon our honor as business men, that from this date we will under no circumstances sell or give away, or allow to be sold or given away by any of our agents or employees, any alcoholic or intoxicating liquors, wine, beer, or ale, except upon the prescription of a reputable practicing physician, said prescription to be filled but once.

Grocers’ Pledge

We, the undersigned grocers, do hereby promise and agree that we will not hereafter sell, or allow to be sold in our stores, intoxicating liquor to any person; and that we will heartily, and in good faith, perform this obligation.


The Woman’s Temperance Movement, by Rev. W.C. Steel (New York, 1874)

Published in: on March 6, 2014 at 1:35 am  Leave a Comment  

Resources for Life

 There are many different theories concerning the moral purposes of this world in which we dwell, considered, I mean, in reference to us, its human inhabitants; for some regard it merely as a state of transition between two conditions of existence, a past and a future; others as being worthless in itself, except as a probation or preparation for a better and a higher life; while others, absorbed or saddened by the monstrous evils and sorrows around them, have really come to regard it as a place of punishment or penance for sins committed in a former state of existence. But I think that the best definition, – the best, at least, for our present purpose, – is that of Shakespeare: he calls it, with his usual felicity of expression, “this working-day world;” and it is truly this: it is a place where work is to be done, – work which must be done, – work which it is good to do; – a place in which labor of one kind or another is at once the condition of existence and the condition of happiness.

Well, then, in this working-day world of ours we must all work. The only question is, what shall we do?

To few it is granted to choose their work. Indeed, all work worth doing seems to leave us no choice. We are called to it. Sometimes the voice so calling us is from within, sometimes from without; but in any case it is what we term expressively our vocation, and in either case the harmony and happiness of life in man or woman consists in finding our vocation the employment of our highest faculties, and of as many of them as can be brought into action.

And work is of various kinds: there are works of necessity and works of mercy; – head work, hand work; man’s work, woman’s work; and on the distribution of this work in accordance with the divine law, and what Milton calls the “faultless proprieties of nature,” depends the well-being of the whole community, not less than that of each individual.

Sisters of Charity, Catholic and Protestant. And the Communion of Labor, by Mrs. Anna Jameson. (Boston (1857)

I must say that while reading the paragraphs following these on the work of men and the work of women, I have an urge to make charts of “men’s work” and “women’s work” at various times in our history. I think it would be interesting (and quite telling) to see how the individual tasks move from one to the other.

Published in: on February 26, 2014 at 1:34 am  Comments (1)  

Resources for Life

Women’s Labor Not Compensated

The value of labor is too apt to be estimated, not by its usefulness, and the good it may bring, but by the rate at which it may be obtained – by the necessities of the laborers. Labor should be estimated by the amount of good it does in supplying the necessities, and promoting the welfare of mankind, individually and collectively, and wages should be proportioned thereto.

As business is now done, women’s self-respect and ambition are not called forth. Consequently women employed to work are more idle and less to be depended on – they are more likely to take advantage of an employer’s time than men. But if they had the same number of hours to work that men have, and were paid according to their industry and activity, a better disciple would be established. There would be more honor, and principle, and justice, on both sides.

There is no union or society among women to keep up the regular standard of prices – so the majority work for what they can get. The low wages of female labor tend to increase the feeling of dependence in woman, and tempt her to marry merely for a home.

Many event are tending to draw attention to these matters. How many hundreds, even thousands, of virtuous and worthy girls have been thrown out of employment by the late terrible war! After the great financial revulsion of 1857, many were rendered homeless and helpless. The “New York Tribune,” referring to them, says “It is estimated there are not less than seven thousand ready to go West, because society here has withdrawn its succor from them. At best they can but earn a pittance. A woman may be defined to be a creature that receives half price for all she does, and pays full prices for all she needs. No hotel or boarding-house here (nor elsewhere, we will add) takes a woman at a discount of fifty per cent. Butcher, baker, grocer, mercer, haberdasher, all ask her the upmost penny. No omnibus carries her for half price. She earns as a child – she pays as a many. Besides, her sex, if not barous custom, cuts her off from the best rewarded colleges. Her hands, feet, and brain are clogged.” We ask our readers to pause and inquire if this is not true.


This subsequent work of Virginia Penny’s is Think and Act. A Series of Article Pertaining to Men and Women, Work and Wages. (Philadelphia, 1869)

This work is packed full of article’s from Penny’s perspective on women, men, occupation, marriage, health and more. Here is a second passage to give you a better idea of how wide her topics are. (Looking at this passage, I will admit, I am one who must have her “order, system, and harmony”)

What a Woman Should Be

Some women are by nature gifted with more refinement of feeling, more delicacy of thought, than others. Education, or training, makes a still greater difference.

A woman’s virtuous counsels are a beacon-light to save from the rocks and quicksands of this stormy world, but the evil counsels of a woman lead to ruin and misery.

There are a thousand little courtesies that a woman alone is capable of performing; volumes could not contain all the delicate minutiae that form a true lady. The feeling that makes one must be native.

Order and harmony should prevail in all the arrangements of a lady. In the adjustment of her dress – the furniture of her room – her studies – her pastimes – her hours for rest, – in all, order, system, and harmony, are important.

A kind of consideration for the comfort of others is one of the most lovely traits of female character. A woman that does not discharge her duties, as wife and mother, does not deserve the name of woman.

Gentleness, tenderness, and decision should characterize a woman. A cheerful, contented, and forgiving disposition should mark her temper. Nothing is more to be admired than modesty, humility, and consistency. They form bright jewels in the crown of virtues. A warm heart, and refined manners, command admiration and love; but a cultivated intellect will add a greater charm, and enable a woman to accomplish more good.


Published in: on February 19, 2014 at 1:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Women’s Patriotic Association for Diminishing the Use of Imported Luxuries

This is one I was initially going to include in the Resources series. But, with some recent discussions, I would like people to be aware of this movement. It became fairly well known about since I am seeing it in rural papers (which I’ll share) as well as papers in England and Australia (I’ll have to refind that to transcribe.)

The Women’s Patriotic Association for Diminishing the Use of Imported Luxuries (New York, 1864)

This book opens with an address from May of 1864. It also contains several letters.

There is something more we can do for our country! We wish to make, we can make, no stronger appeal that this to those who have been working for our sick and wounded soldiers for the past three years, who are working for them now, who means to work for them until the war is over. We ask you to consider seriously the subject now presented; let it commend itself to your reason; for, if once convinced of the importance of the measure, we cannot doubt but that you will show yourself as ready to help our country by not doing, as you have hitherto helped it by doing.

… The most effectual way of doing this, we are told, is to diminish our use of foreign luxuries, although a general economy is all superfluities will do much towards it. At present our imports – or the articles purchased by us from foreign countries – are very much greater in value than our exports – or the articles we produce at home and sell abroad. It is estimated that when the accounts for the year are made up, on the 30th day of this coming June, we shall find that the country has been sending abroad seventy or seventy-five millions of dollars in gold to pay the balance of trade against it. And what have we bought with this money, so much needed at home just now, and which might be dispensed with? Silks, satins, velvets, laces, jewelry, ribbons, trimmings, carpets, mirrors, and other imported luxuries – every woman knows what they are without running through the whole list – things that are not necessary, which would benefit our country should we do without them altogether, but which, if wanted, can, with but few exceptions, be obtained of our own manufacture.


As with the Temperance movement this also has a pledge:

Form of Pledge We, the undersigned, during the continuance of this war of rebellion, pledge ourselves to refrain from the purchase of Imported Articles of Luxury, for which those of Home Manufacture or Production can be substituted.


Edited later to add:

I’ve been reading The Needle’s Eye: Women and Work in the Age of Revolution by Marla Miller. When I reached this passage, I instantly thought of this post. 

After the war ended, women remained conscious of the political impllications of the astorial choices. In November of 1786, more  than one hundred women in Hartford, responding to the postwar economic depression adn the tension swelling to the nrth as Massachusetts coped with Shay’s Rebellion, expressed their patriotic zeal by forming an “Economic Association.” “Taking into serious consideration the unhappy situation of their county, and being fully sensible that our calamities are in great measure occasioned by the luxury and extravagance of individuals,” the founders expressed the hope that “those Ladies that used the to excel in dress… will endeavor to set the ebst examples, by laying aside their richest silks and superfluous decorations, and as far as possible, distinguish themselves by their perfect indifference to those ornaments and superfluities which in happier times might become them.” The resolutions reflected the signers’ sense of themselves as participants in an internationaly network of clothing makers and consumers. They observed that “the English and French fashions, which require manufacture of an infinate variety of gewgaws and frippery,  may be highly beneficial and even necassary in the countries where those articles are madel as they funish employment and subsistence for poor people.” But, thought sympathetic these individuals, they also recognized larger and more sinister interests at work; “foreign nations,” they stated, were anxious to “introduce their fashions into this country, as they thus make a market for their useless manufactures, and enrich themselves at our expense…. Our implicit submission to the fashions of other countries is hightly derogatory to teh reputation of Americans, as it renders uss dependent on the interest, or caprise, of foreigeners, both for taste and manners; it prevents the exercise of our own ingenuity, and makes us the slaves of milliners and mantaumakers in London or Paris. For the next seven months, the women said, they would refrain from purchasing “gauze, ribbons, flowers, feathers, lace and other trimmins from frippery, designed merely as ornaments.” They would reduce new purchases for weddings and mourning, eliminate purchases of new materials for routine visiting, and buy domestic rather than imported goods whenever possible. In sum, they vowed to dress simply, to limit occasions that called for fashionable excces, and to “use [their] influence to diffuse and attention to industry and frugality, and to render these virtues reputable and permanent.” 

The Hardford Association’s success is impossible to gauge – perhaps this was the year that one of the Trumbull girls famously wore the same, plain muslin dress all season long, to great local acclaim for her simplicity – and bravery. Whether the signers abstained from the unneccassary purchases in unknown, but their awareness of the political and economic impact of ephemeral style is striking.     

This also brings to mind Mrs. Philadelphia’s words in my January post.

Published in: on February 17, 2014 at 1:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Resources for Life

It is very easy to obtain book after book on “The Sphere of Woman,” “The Mission of Woman,” and “The Influence of Woman.” But to a practical mind it must be evident that good advice is not sufficient. That is very well, provided the reader is supplied with the comforts of life. But plans need to be devised, pursuits require to be opened, by which women can earn a respectable livelihood. It is the great want of the day. It is in order to meet that want that this work has been prepared. The few employments that been open to women are more than full. To withdraw a number from the few markets of female labor already crowded to excess, by directing them to avenues where they are wanted, would thereby benefit both parties.

At no time in our country’s history have so many women been thrown upon their own exertions. A million of men are on the battlefield, and thousands of women, formerly dependent on them, have lost or may lose their only support. Some of the mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters of soldiers, may take the vacancies created in business by their absence – others must seek new channels of labor.

An exact estimate of woman as she has been, and now is, furnishes a problem difficult to solve. Biographies and histories merely furnish a clue to what she has been. Prejudice has exaggerated these portraits. Woman as she now is, save in fiction and society, is scarcely known. The future position of woman is a matter of conjecture only. No mathematical nicety can be brought to bear upon the subject, for it is one not capable of data. More particularly is it difficult to define what her future condition in a business capacity will be. Man will have much to do with it, but woman more. I know of no work giving a true history of woman’s condition in a business capacity. Socially, morally, mentally, and religiously, she is written about; but not as a working, every-day reality, in any other capacity than that pertaining to home life. It has been to me a matter of surprise that some one has not presented the subject in a practical way, that would serve as an index to the opening of new occupations, and present feasibility of women engaging in many from which they are now debarred….

The work of a single woman has never been very clearly defined. Those that are without means are often without any to guide them; and the limited avenues of employment open to women, and the fear of becoming a burden on others, have poised some of their best hours and paralyzed some of the strongest powers. There is a large amount of female talent in the United States laying dormant for the want of cultivation, and there has been a large amount cultivated that is not brought into exercise for the want of definite plans and opportunities of making it available. It exist like an icicle, and requires the warmth of energy, thought, and independence to render it useful. It shrinks from forcing itself into notice, like the sensitive plant, and may live and die unseen and unknown. Widen, then, the theatre of action and enterprise to woman. Throw open productive fields of labor, and let her enter.


While I would like to continue on with Penny’s preface to her work, I will instead tell you she details 516 specific employments open to women and also includes articles on employments for the blind, deaf and disabled (lame in her words) as well as topics related to women’s employment. In each of her detailed articles, she addresses the statistics for the employment such as the numbers of women employed and where, the wages paid, hours worked, expected skills and instruction if available.

The Employments of Women: A Cylcopedia of Woman’s Work, by Virginia Penny (Boston: 1863)

Published in: on February 12, 2014 at 1:31 am  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,

Resources for Life

“Consider that to-night is the only opportunity the gentlemen may ever have of hearing how adroitly the ladies can flatter them.”

“It is not in the bond,” replied Lucinda.

“What is not?”

“That the ladies should flatter gentlemen.”

“Excuse me,” said Colonel Kingswood; “the ladies having voluntarily taken the responsibility, the gentlemen must insist on their going regularly through the whole ball with all its accompaniments, including compliments, flattery and flirtation, and a seasoning of genuine courtship, of which last article there is always more or less at every large party. And as it appears, that Miss Mandeville has not faithfully done her part during the dance, she must make amends by doing it now.”

“On the latter subject,” said Fitzsimmons, “Miss Mandeville can need no prompting. Her own experience must have made her familiar with courtship in all its varieties.”

“Of course,” resumed the Colonel. “So, Miss Mandeville, you can be at no loss in what manner to begin.”

“And am I to stand here and to be courted?” said Fitzsimmons.

 This comes from “The Ladies’ Ball” in Pencil Sketches; or, Outlines of Character and Manners, by Miss Leslie. (Philadelphia, 1835)

This earlier compilation of Miss Leslies includes her stories from the periodical series “Pencil Sketches” These include: “The Wilson House; or, Village Gossip”, “The Album”, “The Reading Parties”, “The Set of China”, “Laura Lovel”, “John W. Robertson, A Tale of a Cent” and “The Ladies’ Ball”.

If you enjoy her short stories, you may also enjoy these:

Atlantic Tales: or, Pictures of Youth, by Miss Leslie. Boston.

Stories for Adelaide: Being a Second Series of Easy Reading Lessons, with Divided Syllables, by Eliza Leslie, Philadelphia, 1829.

The Gift: A Christmas, New Year, and Birthday Present. Philadelphia, 1845 (A compilation of stories by others.)


Published in: on February 5, 2014 at 1:35 am  Comments (1)  

Resources for Life

Women in America; Being an Examination into the Moral and Intellectual Condition of American Female Society, by Mrs. A. J. Graves (New York:1844)

Look round upon the groups of young females who crowd our private parties or public balls; who lounge upon the sofa receiving visits, or throng the city promenades to exhibit their decorated persons or to make morning calls, and how many can you point out among them who have fulfilled one useful purpose of existence to themselves, to their families, or to society? And all this waste of time and energy in the pursuit of folly is in the hope of becoming thereby candidates for matrimony, while by this very means they are seeking to attain. Nor is this all: their efforts defeat the wished for end, inasmuch as the habits of indolence and extravagance in which so many young women are brought up, deter a multitude of young men from becoming husbands, lest they should involve themselves in pecuniary embarrassment; and as wealthy young men are extremely rare, we see marriages in fashionable life every day becoming fewer; thus leaving in our cities a numerous class of finely-dressed, pretty, and accomplished young ladies, doomed to become disappointed “establishment-seekers,” and to fade into fretful and repining “’old maids.” An intelligent, useful woman, who continues in a state of celibacy from choice or from disappointed affection, is an honoured and valuable member of society, but she whose youth has been spent in idleness and folly, and is seeking for a husband in crowded scenes of amusement, becomes a pitiable object – a burden to herself, and the jest and by-word of her acquaintance. (p52-53)

Among the many causes that are tending to deaden in the heart of woman a sense of her appropriate obligations, is the fatal notion that there is something servile in labour. It is, indeed, much to be lamented, that in the praiseworthy effort to redeem herself from the life of slavery and degradation to which past ages doomed her, so many of her sex should have passed to the other extreme – a life of indolence and uselessness Nor is this notion that there is gentility in idleness, confined to females alone: we find it widely and deeply cherished by society at large. Hence we see that the aristocratic titles of “lady” and “gentleman” are by common consent thought to be applicable only to those who hold it beneath their fancied dignity to toil with their hands. The farmer who guides his own plough, and the mechanic who still plies his tools, are thus considered as belonging to a lower caste than the “gentleman” farmer who lives solely upon the toil of his dependant[sic] labourers, or the retired mechanic who has thrown aside his implements, and employs the capital amassed by their use in extensive speculations in lands or stocks. (p25-26)

Published in: on January 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm  Comments (1)  

Resources for Life – A weekend extra


Dress as a Fine Art, by Mrs. Mary Philadelphia Merrifield (Boston: 1854)

We violate the laws of nature when we seek to repair the ravages of time on our complexions by paint, when we substitute false hair for that which age has thinned or blanched, or conceal the change by dyeing our own gray hair; when we pad our dress to conceal that one shoulder is larger than the other. To do either is not only in bad taste, but is a positive breach of sincerity. It is bad taste, because the means we have resorted to are contrary to the laws of nature. The application of paint to the skin produces an effect so different from the bloom of youth, that it can only deceive an unpracticed eye. It is the same with hair: there is such a want of harmony between false hair and the face which it surrounds, especially when that face bears the marks of age, and the color of the hair denotes youth, that the effect is unpleasing in the extreme. Deception of this kind, therefore, does not answer the end which it had in view; it deceives nobody but the unfortunate perpetrator of would-be deceit. It is about as senseless a proceeding as that of the goose in the story, who, when pursued by the fox, thrust her head into a hedge, and thought that, because she could no longer see the fox, the fox could not see her. But in a moral point of view it is worse than silly; it is adopted with a view to deceive; it is acting a lie to all intents and purposes, and it ought to be held in the same kind of detestation as falsehood with the tongue. Zimmerman has an aphorism which is applicable to this case – “Those who conceal their age do not conceal their folly.” (p12-13)

The immediate objects of dress are twofold – namely, decency and warmth; but so many minor considerations are suffered to influence us in choosing our habiliments, that these primary objects are too frequently kept out of sight. Dress should be not only adapted to the climate, it should be also light in weight, should yield to the movements of the body, and should be easily put on or removed. It should also be adapted to the station in society, and to the age, of the individual. These are the essential conditions, yet in practice how frequently are they overlooked; in fact, how seldom are they observed! Next in importance are general elegance of form, harmony in the arrangement and selection of the colors, and special adaptation in form and color to the person of the individual. To these objects we purpose directing the attention of the reader. (p16)

Had the Bloomer costume, which has obtained so much notoriety, been introduced by a tall and graceful scion of the aristocracy, either of rank or talent, instead of being at first adopted by the middle ranks, it might have met with better success. We have seen that Jenny Lind could introduce a new fashion of wearing the hair, and a new form of hat or bonnet, and Mme. Sontag a cap which bears her name. But it was against all precedent to admit and follow a fashion, let its merits be every so great, that emanated from the stronghold of democracy. We are content to adopt the greatest absurdities in dress when they are brought from Paris, or recommendation by a French name; but American fashions have no chance of success in aristocratic England. It is beginning at the wrong end.



Published in: on January 24, 2014 at 6:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Resources for Life


 A quart of cream.
 A quarter of a pound of loaf sugar, powdered.
  Half a pint of white wine and Half a gill of brandy mixed.
  Eight maccaroons, or more if you choose.
  Four small sponge-cakes or Naples biscuit.
  Two ounces of blanched sweet almonds, pounded in a mortar.
  One ounce of blanched bitter almonds or peach-kernels.
  The juice and grated peel of two lemons.
  A nutmeg, grated.
  A glass of noyau.
  A pint of rich baked custard, made of the yolks of eggs.

 Pound the sweet and bitter almonds to a smooth paste, adding a little rose-water as you pound them.

 Grate the yellow peels of the lemons, and squeeze the juice into a saucer.

 Break the sponge cake and maccaroons into small pieces, mix them with the almonds, and lay them in the bottom of a large glass bowl. Grate a nutmeg over them, and the juice and peel of the lemons. Add the wine and brandy, and let the mixture remain untouched, till the cakes are dissolved in the liquor. Then stir it a little.

 Mix the cream and sugar with a glass of noyau, and beat it with a whisk or rods, till it stands alone.

 As the froth rises, take it off with a spoon, and lay it on a sieve (with a large dish under it) to drain. The cream, that drains into the dish, must be poured back into the pan with the rest, and beaten over again. When the cream is finished, set it in a cool place.

 When the custard is cold, poor it into the glass bowl upon the dissolved cakes, &c. and when the cream is ready, fill up the bowl with it, heaping it high in the middle. You may ornament it with nonpareils.

 If you choose, you can put in, between the custard and the frothed cream, a layer of fruit jelly, or small fruit preserved.


Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry Cakes, and Sweetmeat (Philadelphia, 1832) is one of Miss Leslie’s earlier culinary/cooking works. (For those unfamiliar with Project Gutenberg, I do suggest browsing for a while. The vast majority of their texts have been transcribed into plain text, while several are read aloud.) She includes easy to follow ingredient lists and directions. I happen to think there are very tasty sounding dishes in this book.

You may also enjoy some of her other cookery books:

Miss Leslie’s New Receipts for Cooking, 1874

Miss Leslies’ New Cookery Book, 1857

Miss Leslie’s Complete Cookery, 1853

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 6:00 am  Comments (3)