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Making America: A History of the United States, Brief Second Edition
Carol Berkin, Christopher L. Miller, Robert W. Cherny, James L. Gormly, W. Thomas Mainwaring
Primary Sources

Introduction | Questions to Consider | Source | Related Links

American Woman's Home
Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe

One of the foremost woman writers of the nineteenth century, Catherine Beecher was one of the chief proponents of the "cult of domesticity," devoting much of her writing to domestic and household topics both ideological and practical.

Questions to Consider
  1. Using the first picture, answer the following.:
    1. Where is the house located?
    2. How big is the house?
    3. What are the most significant features of the house and its lot?
    4. What are the figures doing in the picture?

  2. Look at the second picture and answer the following:
    1. What is a conservatory?
    2. What is a piazza?
    3. What furniture is in the drawing room?
    4. What occupies the center of the house?
    5. What is the function of the moveable screen?
    6. What is the purpose of the recess?

  3. The Beechers described their houseplan as "what may be properly called a Christian house; that is a house contrived for the express purpose of enabling every member of a family to labor with the hands for the common good, and by modes at once healthful, economical, and tasteful." How do the sketch and floorplan illustrate their conceptualization of the "Christian house?"

  4. How does the plan for the American home illustrate the ideology of the "cult of domesticity?"


Christian Home


Christian Home

Source: Catherine E. Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, American Woman's Home (New York: J.B. Ford & Co., 1869) reprinted Stowe-Day Foundation, 1987, pp. 23, 26..


Related Links

  • Godey's Lady's Book Online
    Several complete issues of one of the 19th century's most popular women's magazines. Fashion illustrations galore, plus poetry, engravings, and articles.