Wednesday, August 30
Beeton's Book of Household Management
The full title of this book is: The Book of Household Management: Comprising Information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and under house-maids, Lady’s-maid, Maid-of-all-work, Laundry-maid, Nurse and nurse-maid, Monthly, wet, and sick nurses, etc. etc. also, sanitary, medical, & legal memoranda;with a history of the origin, properties, and uses of all things connected with home life and comfort.
Yes, this original source, available for free online, was written during the Victorian era, but the gems of knowledge contained within its pages help to illuminate the daily tasks and duties of the British wife and hostess. Written by Mrs. Isabella Beeton and originally published by her husband, S. O. Beeton (in 24 monthly parts, 1859–1861) this book provides matchless insights, such as those contained in the following excerpt:
"AFTER-DINNER INVITATIONS MAY BE GIVEN; by which we wish to be understood, invitations for the evening. The time of the arrival of these visitors will vary according to their engagements, or sometimes will be varied in obedience to the caprices of fashion. Guests invited for the evening are, however, generally considered at liberty to arrive whenever it will best suit themselves,—usually between nine and twelve, unless earlier hours are specifically named. By this arrangement, many fashionable people and others, who have numerous engagements to fulfil, often contrive to make their appearance at two or three parties in the course of one evening."
Learn more about this book and Mrs. Beeton, who died at 30 after giving birth to her 4th child, in Wikipedia.