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A Treatise on Domestic Economy by Beecher

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 Engravings.

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 Massachusetts.



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 all those rules of thrift and economy that will make domestic duty easy and pleasant.

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