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Light of the Home: An Intimate View of the Lives of Women in Victorian America
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Light of the Home: An Intimate View of the Lives of Women in Victorian America

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  12 reviews
From the greatest collection of American Voctoriana comes a wonderful evocation of the lives of women 100 years ago. Harvey Green culls from letters and diaries, quotes from magazines, and looks at the clothes, samplers, books, appliances, toys, and dolls of the era to provide a rare portrait of daily life in turn-of-the-century America. 125 black & white photos.
Paperback, 206 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by University of Arkansas Press (first published 1983)
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Lauren Stoolfire
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
It's fascinating to read about this time period, but I'm so glad I didn't have to live through it.
johnny dangerously
I'm hesitant to mark this down as 'Victorian', since the title is misleading; it deals exclusively and entirely with the lives of American women in the 1800s. Some people consider that the 'American Victorian Era'. I consider them mad, maaaad I tell you. (I dislike naming any period of American history after a monarch, for my own priggish political reasons.)

That is my major complaint with the book. My minor complaint is how overly detailed it sometimes gets, turning vibrant prose suddenly dry.
Amy Rae
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Listened to this to and from work with the roommate and had a fine time of it. The book is full of fascinating anecdotes, and I loved the way Green incorporated quotations from women's diaries to support his claims. I especially appreciated, after the painfully conservative Victorian Britain, that Green openly acknowledges the ways societal expectations fenced women in and put sometimes impossible expectations on them.

There were places where the details got so granular that it could be difficult
Judy Egnew Ness
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great book about middle class Victorian womanhood, illustrated with period advertisements and vintage items. This was a time period when white, middle class women were assigned the responsibility of promoting and protecting the health, morals, and salvation of their husbands and children--while being denied any access to financial, political, or social power with which to make real changes. And then they were often blamed and criticized if anyone in their families had a problem. Men thought of ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book was entertainingly written and very informative. I liked all the photos; they really helped visualize the decor, toys, and objects used in the household. Once again, I was struck with how much work women had during Victorian times. This is the first book, however, that talked a lot about leisure activities of middle-class women in the late 1800s. I just can't imagine having to wear a corset and 30 pounds of skirts hanging from my waist. Reading history books always makes me happy to be ...more
2017-12 - The Light of the Home: An Intimate View of the Lives of Women in Victorian America. Harvey Green. (Author) 1983. 205 Pages.

I picked up this book several years ago off of the library Free Shelf with the notion that it would be an interesting off season read for tours at Waynesborough. I try and read one or two books each off season to develop my knowledge and make better tours. Since the structure and rooms at Waynesborough cover a broad time frame (mid-1700’s to early 20th century)
Kit Dunsmore
Jun 23, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research
An interesting description of Victorian American middle-class life as lived by women. Illustrated with lots of photos of artifacts that make it all real. The eye-opener for me: there was a lot of literature and equipment for dealing with a variety of "women's problems", especially to deal with reproductive organs, that I would have assumed didn't exist at all, given the fact that the era was a Victorian one. Apparently a lot of the attitude against sex of any kind may have come from the fact ...more
Very readable, fascinating book about living as a white female in America during the mid to late 1800s. Green uses the advertisements, private diaries, and household goods as sources to flesh out his tale.

A few fave quotes:
"Thus the resistance of workers to the injustices and excesses of the late-nineteenth century economy were not seen as indicators of some weakness in the system, but as the result of some individual or collective failure among the populace."

"The separation of the economic
Lori Holuta
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very late-breaking review from me. But I must mention this book, which has had a spot on my bookshelf for about two decades now. This is one of my 'go to' reference book, and has been fully read and re-read a dozen times. I feel it's a must-have for those who wander about in this 'enlightened' era.
May 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
An excellent book detailing not only the lives of women in Victorian times, but indeed the entire culture of Victorian times. This book is chock-full of little fascinating tidbits about what it was like to live during the late 1800s, and it explains the mindset behind some of the things that may seem strange to us now.

May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm doing research on a novel I'm writing set during this time period. It's very interesting to see what was expected of women, from how they should be courted, to how many servants they should have, to how they should decorate their homes. A great reference!
Sarah Wacker
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was such a fun read. I only needed to look at the section that applied to my thesis, but I ended up reading the entire thing just for personal enjoyment.
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