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Home Life in Colonial Days

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  113 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Could you identify a sausage gun if you had to? How about a plate warmer or a well-sweep? Any idea how the term log-rolling really originated? Alice Morse Earle (1851–1911), a prolific popular historian and the first American to chronicle everyday life and customs of the colonial era, describes what these and many other obscure utensils were and how they were used. She als ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 5th 2006 by Dover Publications (first published 1898)
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Feb 17, 2015 Caleb rated it it was amazing
I’d wanted to read a book about daily life in Colonial Times for a while and this one was perfect. The author sometimes goes into great detail (understatement) in the various chapters (some bits about sewing reminded me of all the lessons on whaling in Moby Dick), but it really makes the reader appreciate how life was, how hard the people worked, and how valued the things they made were to their daily lives. This could be used as more of a reference book on certain subjects if you’re not up for ...more
Aug 28, 2011 Reedz0r rated it really liked it
disclaimer: i'm fascinated by colonial america.

i would generally assume that if you're looking this book up in the first place, you'd also be interested in the subject. still, if you're not into the details of life during colonial america, you won't like this. this has a lot of great detail. a great source of information from a time that was as far removed from the colonial period.
Jan 29, 2014 Coralie rated it it was amazing
Although this book was written in the late 1800's, and I know a really lot about colonial life, I loved this book. Mrs Earle goes over all the mundane details of running a household in early America, and never once is it dry and boring. I learned a few new things and I was reminded of a lot of things I knew and had forgotten. I read this book at the perfect time, since we're doing American Heritage in school this semester. Really, really interesting book. This is a women's history without being ...more
Aug 21, 2010 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The descriptions start without preamble or overview, launching immediately into detailed discussion of the shapes and sizes of the Colonials' homes. It is a dense reading, usually difficult to wade through, with only the broadest sense of structure: this chapter is houses, the next is food, then the tools, then the cloth, and so forth.

This crowd of facts and their relentlessness march is an unyielding reminder: life was harsh and full of work, and the people who lived during this time were both
(Notes refer to the Project Gutenberg edition )

Charming, non-scholarly introduction to lifeways in Colonial America. I really enjoyed reading this one day while in bed with a cold, and it fits in with my recent viewings of the BBC Victorian Farm, Edwardidan Farm, etc. series.

Does anyone else see the "proto-maker" sentiment, on the boy with the jack-knife section? Would we rewrite this as a boy with a CNC machine or a 3D printer?

Also, was encouraged to read t
Not an easy read and it spent too much time on stuff like telling the reader how to make soap when I was more interested in stuff like how often they used the soap to wash their clothes - which was also included but I just could have done without the soap making instructions. So I wound up skimming over some parts like that. But there were some details here and there of interest. I am finding the modern textbook Family Life in 17th- And 18th-Century America much more focused on things of inter ...more
Dec 19, 2014 Rhenda rated it liked it
Written in 1898 about "Real things, works and happenings of olden times." Very interesting and informative. I enjoyed it.
Aug 28, 2014 Danielle rated it liked it
Dry but interesting.
Maryclaire Zampogna
This book was written in the 1890's. The author covers the daily life in Colonial America. She writes about their customs, their different type of homes, the raising of the food, it's preparation and it's serving style. Their are chapters on the style of lamps, from Betty lamps, Bull's Eye Lamps and of course tinder box and candles. It is a very informative book in all aspects of early life. I will refer to it many times.
Renata Shura
Jul 25, 2015 Renata Shura rated it it was amazing
A fascinating read and a reference book of great value. I expect to come back to this tome time and time again.

Indispensable for one interested in the "other side" of history.
Feb 24, 2012 Lexish rated it liked it
I read through a few of these because I used to teach units on colonial America and was interested to see how this author (writing in the late 1800s) portrayed this period in history that was much closer to her than it is to us! Unless you're very interested in this topic, though, I wouldn't recommend it as a casual read.
Nov 30, 2008 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book more times than any non-children's book I've ever read. This is the bible of everyday life in colonial times. The detail, the coverage, the research are all so thorough and well written. I LOVE THIS BOOK. (quirky, I know, but what the hell....)
Jun 16, 2016 John rated it liked it
Competently and unbiasedly written; interesting anthropological notes, such as husband and wife used to share a dinner plate as a sign of their intimacy and love. Never find that in a novel!
Jan 21, 2013 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One can't really judge this book by modern historical standards (hello, romanticization of [white] colonists and casual racism), but worth reading as an example of early social history.
Apr 06, 2015 Wendy rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, 2012
Want to really learn how easy we have it today as women? And how much more our opinions matter. Free Ebook on Gutenburg site.
Nov 05, 2014 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting, but sometimes the author belabored the point a bit.
Aug 24, 2014 Gene rated it it was amazing
Very interesting and enjoyable if you are a history buff like me! :-)
Jul 21, 2008 maria rated it it was amazing
Loved it....
but I'm obsessed with anything related to Colonial America.
Genetta Coleman
Jun 18, 2012 Genetta Coleman rated it it was amazing
VERY useful to me, as I normally write and read historical fiction. Love it!!
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Alice Morse Earle was an American historian and author from Worcester, Massachusetts. She was christened Mary Alice by her parents Edwin Morse and Abby Mason Clary. On 15 April 1874, she married Henry Earle of New York, changing her name from Mary Alice Morse to Alice Morse Earle. Her writings, beginning in 1890, focussed on small sociological details rather than grand details, and thus are invalu ...more
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