In going through some the electronic copies of old books I have saved I ran across a book from 1877 titled “Household Organization” by a Mrs. Caddy. I had glanced at this book before and dismissed it because it seemed at first glance to be simply about managing servants. Today, however, I took a closer look and found some remarkable things.
Apparently in the 1870’s England was experiencing an economic downturn which was being felt quite acutely by the upper middle class. Now I’m not upper middle class and certainly don’t have any servants, but I found some of Mrs. Caddy’s insights inspiring. I will begin sharing them here.
Apparently along with economic woes England was experience a de-masculinizing of its men much like we’re seeing in our country today. And, like today in the United States, women weren’t innocent of encouraging the process.
. . . blame for the degeneracy which has been felt of late.”
In the continuing discussion of servants, Mrs. Caddy wisely determines:
In reference to the custom of the time, as in ours, of pretentiousness, vanity and little in the way of actual productive living she concludes: