New York: G. P. Putnam & Sons, 1897. First edition. Original publisher's cloth binding with gilt to spine and front board. Top edge gilt. A square, tight copy with only mild shelfwear to extremities. Internally surprisingly bright, clean, and unmarked with none of the usual toning from this era. Collates xxi, 286, [1, ads]: complete. With only modest holdings at institutions and no other copies on the market, this serious and practical work on domestic economics has become quite rare.
A pioneer in the field of home economics and a collaborator with influential women including Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Jane Addams, Helen Campbell's background as a social and industrial reformer led her to raise women's awareness of the importance of running responsible and efficient domestic spaces. The present work, Household Economics, began as a lecture at the University of Wisconsin. Ultimately, it remained among her most influential books and is considered one of the first American textbooks in the field. "The life of the family, with all that it means to the life of the race, is absolutely dependent on household life. Whether we live or die, and how we live or die, are largely determined by our household condition." Keeping this as the central tenet of the work, Campbell promotes the importance of women and heads-of-households running their domestic arrangements with a scientific level of care and accuracy. She acknowledges that in a time of rising female attendance rates in college, many educated women are resistant to the idea of seriously considering domesticity and the importance of its function; but for those who choose or are forced into that space, Campbell points out that the role is of central importance to all members of the family and therefore should be handled responsibly. In addition to chapters outlining the handling of money and the efficient purchasing of goods from furnishings to food, other chapters focus on nutrition and sanitation. A chapter near the end also considers domestic service, its differences from women's unpaid domestic labor at home, and its role as a career path. Following the release of Household Economics, Campbell received an appointment to the faculty of Kansas State Agricultural College.
Feminist Companion 175. Near Fine (Item #2767)