For a long while I have been fascinated by the role of the housewife over history. When my Nan died my mum came into possession of one of her books that completely fascinated me. The Housewife's Handy Book covers absolutely everything that you would need to be a housewife in the 1930s.
I have seen (and own) several books telling housewives of the time all about the various crafts that they were expected to know – embroidery, mending, knitting, upholstery etc) but this is the first book I have seen that covers such a range of subjects.
The contents list is fascinating: Stitchcraft made easy, ABC of dressmaking, ABC of simple embroidery, The housewife's cookery book, Sweetmaking at home, Jobs about the house, Science for the housewife, The business of the home, Money making at home, Everyday etiquette, The housewife's letter-writer, How to dance, Your place in the stars, Beauty for the housewife, The home garden.
How can you not love a book which can teach you everything from how to do lazy-daisy stitch to how to fix fuse wise, whilst also giving an example letter to send to your neighbours if you need to complain about their children? They say that housewives (and husbands) of today are not as fully prepared as those of the past and when you look at a book like this I can understand why.
My Nan's copy will be returned to my mum soon, but I'm delighted to have found that copies are still available on Amazon and I've ordered my own copy. After nearly three years of married life it seems I've got a lot more to learn!