Closets in the Farm Home: The Spread of Domestic Science to Rural America, 1900-1935

Dziedzic, Sarah E.

In the last decade of the nineteenth century, electric light and power reorganized workers in interior factory spaces around efficiency and production. In domestic spaces during this same period, home economists applied similar rules of efficiency to housework, refashioning women in the image of factory managers who held the tenants of efficiency, productivity and economy in the highest regard. Home economists reordered workspace in the home by investigating a variety of household issues with scientific rigor. No part of home life was safe from evaluation––the height of the kitchen sink, the time when peaches must be preserved, the method for laundering bedclothes in the sickroom, the exclusion of bookshelves to prevent accumulation of dust, and even the arrangement of highly specialized storage spaces for items such as mourning apparel, off-season bed linens, and kitchen cleaning supplies all received meticulous attention.


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Academic Units
Columbia Center for Oral History
Published Here
January 31, 2013