December 16, 2004

More Advice from The American Frugal Housewife

Repurposed here for the American Spendthrift Husband:

Where turkeys and geese are kept, handsome feather fans may as well be made by the younger members of a family, as to be bought. The sooner children are taught to turn their faculties to some account, the better for them and for their parents.

In this country, we are apt to let children romp away their existence, till they get to be thirteen or fourteen. This is not well. It is not well for the purses and {4} patience of parents; and it has a still worse effect on the morals and habits of the children. Begin early is the great maxim for everything in education. A child of six years old can be made useful; and should be taught to consider every day lost in which some little thing has not been done to assist others.

Children can very early be taught to take all the care of their own clothes.

They can knit garters, suspenders, and stockings; they can make patchwork and braid straw; they can make mats for the table, and mats for the floor; they can weed the garden, and pick cranberries from the meadow, to be carried to market.

Provided brothers and sisters go together, and are not allowed to go with bad children, it is a great deal better for the boys and girls on a farm to be picking blackberries at six cents a quart, than to be wearing out their clothes in useless play. They enjoy themselves just as well; and they are earning something to buy clothes, at the same time they are tearing them.

-from the intro to Lydia M. Clark's The American Frugal Housewife, pub. 1832 [thanks, Scrivener]

Other suggestions from Lydia M. Clark Child (or L. Maria Clark Child, since she hated the name Lydia): Go "Over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house..."


So glad to have flared your interest in the author of The Mother's Book, The American Frugal Housewife, An Appeal in Favor of the Class of Americans Called Africans, History of the Condition of Women in Various Ages and Nations, and the "Indian novel" Hobomok. But if we're going to be so careful about names that we won't call her Lydia, perhaps we should get her last name correct: it's Child, not Clark. ;)

How's that for keeping you honest?

lol. Just typing what I hear in my head; Clark is the name of the only other person I knew named Lydia. I'll stick to cut-and-paste from now on.

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