Just a Housewife - The Rise and Fall of Domesticity in America by Glenna Matthews
Just a Housewife – The Rise and Fall of Domesticity in America by Glenna Matthews

‘Just a Housewife’ : Far From ‘Downplaying the Housewife Bit,’ Author Glenna Matthews Explores the Injustice of the ‘Just’ in the History of Homemakers,   Jan Hofmann, Los Angeles Times, February 19, 1988

“`this groundbreaking book provides an essential historical backdrop to Betty Friedan’s classic The Feminine Mystique Library Journal”

“`Her scholarly but very readable history gives women, like other oppressed minorities, the past they can be proud of.’ San Jose Mercury News”

“‘a lively account … Matthews’ portrayal of the currents surrounding the 19th-century household are fresh and convincing.’ The Philadelphia Inquirer”

“‘her experience and good common sense enliven, and enrich, this valuable study. One looks forward to her next book.’ Washington Post”


Oxford University Press, 1987

ISBN: 0-19-505925-5

GoodReads.com: “I am not a feminist in the modern definition of the word, and therefore gave this book three stars for the obvious feminist undertones. While I didn’t come to the same conclusions as Ms. Matthews, I still appreciated her research and thouroughly enjoyed reading this book. As a stay-at-home mother of two, I appreciated the ties with historic mothers. Also, I’d never fully known the context of the publication of the Feminine Mystique, and reading this book gave me a better appreciation for how emotionally difficult it might have been to be a homemaker in the ’50s.

It is interesting to read this book 25 years after publication, and give hopeful answers to some open questions she posited. After expressing chagrin at the bland, boring turn cookery had taken in the ’50s and onward, she saw (in the late ’80s) a turn toward cooking from scratch. Page 225, “Perhaps it is not too much to hope that a craft tradition in cookery is being reborn.” Well, I think we can give a hearty “Yes!” to that hope. With the ridiculous number of “foodie” blogs and the growth of Organic, Whole Food, and Trader Joe’s-lovers, the craft tradition of cookery is certainly being reclaimed. (I for one gained a love of from-scratch cooking from reading Wendell Berry. But I suppose that’s best left to another review.)”


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