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MASSACHUSETTS STATE FEDERATION
OF WOMEN'S CLUBS.
Dea7' ATadam President, — Will you read the following circular to
your club, and give the subject careful consideration ?
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSEHOLD SCIENCE.
There is a growing tendency a^iong thoughtful women to
look upon the conducting of the household as a science and
an art, instead of an affair of tradition, habit, fashion, or
instinct. We ask you to consider what this tendency means.
Household science is not satisfied with any routine perform-
ance of duties, nor with any self-sacrificing devotion to trifles
in the home. Instead, it demands of us an intelligent adap-
tation of means to the accomplishment of really worthy ends.
What a}'e scmie of these e?tds, and 7vhat ai'e their I'elative
values ? What means can we best e77ipby i?i working toward
them 1 We submit these questions to you for study. We
cannot answer them in this circular, but we give some
topics with comments and a list of books, which may prove
helpful in their solution. We suggest : —
I. That clubs form classes and study topically the subjects
indicated, referring to the books given in the subjoined list,
or to others which may come to their notice. A leader may
be appointed from the class for each meeting or for the
2. That, where pubhc hbraries do not contain an adequate
number of suitable books on the subject of household
science, they be requested to furnish them ; and, where no
public libraries exist, clubs start circulating libraries upon
the subject of household science.
3. That " Home Talent Days " be held during the year,
with papers from members, giving the results of their reading
and study, followed by a general discussion. Exceptionally
good papers might be lent to other clubs.
By these means we believe that women may gain more
information for the same expenditure of money than through
paid lectures ; and they may learn, besides, what is most
valuable, how to acquire knowledge of a subject through
independent study. They may have, too, in the interchange
of their ideas on " Home Talent Days " a really keen social
HEALTH AND STRENGTH.
" Let us not always say,
* Spite of this flesh to-day
I strove, made head, gained ground upon the whole ! '
As the bird wings and sings,
Let us cry, ' All good things
Are ours, nor soul helps flesh more now than flesh helps soul.' "
Primarily it should be the object of all household science
to promote in every member of the family superb physical
health and strength. It is easy to assent to this proposition,
but probably not one of us in fifty in apportioning our house-
hold outlay of time and money makes health the first con-
sideration. We are too thoughtless and too ignorant. %Do
we realize that carpeted rooms and upholstered furniture and
dresses which drag in the street are not compatible with
absolute cleanliness ? Do we know, except by hearsay, any-
thing about the nutritive value of different foods ? Do we
value our own health -and serenity in the family more than
the tucking or ruffling of a child's frock? Have we self-
control enough to refrain from worrying and pushing our
children, in order that they may excel those of our neighbor ?
Under this topic of "health," the committee wish to call
your attention to the subject of noon luncheons for children
in one-session schools. Every mother knows the importance
of proper food at certain intervals to keep the child in a
healthy condition. The early and oftentimes light breakfast
is entirely insufficient to last until two or three o'clock, when
the child returns home too hungry and tired to care for food.
Sometimes a lunch is carried from home, but not generally ;
and the best and surest way of meeting the need is to have
it provided in the school-house at a slight cost to the pupil.
In Massachusetts there are 261 high schools, with an attend-
ance of 38,133 pupils. Many of the schools have already
adopted the method proposed. How many others are will-
ing to try the experiment? In 1894 school lunches were
established in the high schools in the city of Boston. In
the beginning a public-spirited woman generously furnished
the means, but at the present time they are practically self-
supporting. Lunches may be furnished by contract or they
may be largely prepared in the school kitchen. Different
menus may be offered each day, soup and simple food 'being
requisite. It is a satisfaction to know that, among the mas-
ters, the testimony is unanimous that through these lunches
the child is being educated in right living-, and that their
beneficial effect is evident in the increased vigor of the
pupils, and indirectly is influencing the men and women of
We suggest that you study the relations of this subject of
" Health and Strength " to the following : —
1. Cleanliness. 5. Sleep.
2. Air and light. 6. Exercise.
3. Food and water. 7. Cold baths as a tonic.
4. Clothing. 8. Regularity in living.
9. Worry, cramming in schools, idleness, undue competitive strain.
SAVING OF TIME AND LABOR IN THE HOUSEHOLD.
" Simplicity is the main elegance."
The subject of economy in the use of money was brought
before you at the Federation meeting in Fitchburg. There
is another economy, which saves the housekeeper's time and
labor, that seems to us not less important. Many a house-
wife is like a traveller endeavoring to go sight-seeing
with six trunks to repack daily. The really important needs
of her family she cannot attend to, because of a host of
details and trifling elegances to look after. Could we not
avoid much waste of time and energy through getting rid of
superfluities, doing nothing for mere show, and systematizing
our labor ? Is any one, not of the very poor, Hving simply
enough, who cannot find at least an hour of leisure daily ?
Do we recognize sufficiently the fact that a little leisure
wisely spent may give more grace and elegance to a home
than fine furniture, bric-k-brac, or elaborate dinners ? When
a woman sacrifices her freshness, her cheerfulness, and her
individual growth to her house and table and servants, is it
not a short-sighted unselfishness ? Do we remember that
beauty of heart and generous thought more than material
surroundings make hospitality gracious ? Let us have the
independence to set our own standards of living and of enter-
taining ; and, in doing this, let us consider a little more what
things are really most worth while.
Could not washing, ironing, bread, pastry, and cake-
making be done better and with a saving of time, money,
and labor, if done co-operatively ? Good bread is compara-
tively rare. Why should not families employ through co-op-
eration an expert scientific bread-maker with modern improve-
ments for baking ? A club or a group of friends might do
the community a service by trying some experiments in
co-operative work, to show what is possible.
We suggest that you study the relations of this subject,
the " Saving of Time and Labor in the Household," to the
following : —
1. Simplicity in style of living — in house, furniture, food, clothing.
2. Systematization of work,
HELPFULNESS OF THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSEHOLD.
" Responsibilities educate."
One often hears parents deplore the fact that their chil-
dren have not the same opportunities which they had of
learning to be useful in the home. Is it so much, though,
that opportunities for usefulness do not exist, as that they
are not embraced ? If the members of the family, each
according to his ability, took some share of the household
work and responsibility, the mother could more easily find
some hours of freedom for herself, the servant question
would be less pressing, and the strain of meeting the expenses
of the family diminished. Then, since it is acknowledged
that childhood is the best time to learn to do things with the
hands, why ask for manual training in schools and shut it
out of the home ? Can there be any better way of giving
men and women a sense of obligation to society than by
teaching them early that they owe some service to the
family ? And, if we wish to show others that we respect
labor and believe in helping each other, must we not show it
by example in our households ? We suggest that you con-
sider. How under viodern conditions cJiildrcn may be made
helpful in the household.
BEAUTY IN THE HOME.
" IJeauty rests on necessities."
The importance of beauty needs very little emphasis.
Most women strive for it sufficiently, but with results far
from satisfactory even to themselves. We need to learn hinv
to make our homes beautiful. For simple, practical help on
this subject, we refer you especially to some leaflets published
by the Twentieth Century Club, under the title of " Beauty
in the Home," and suggest that several copies of these be
purchased by each club for circulation among its members.
They cost only $i.oo for twenty copies. We suggest also
the following questions for discussion in classes, or upon
" Home Talent Days " : —
Is beauty best obtained by making it the chief end
How shall we distinguish between the beautiful, and the
fashionable, costly, showy, or novel ?
Which do you value most in rooms and in furniture,
beauty of form, of color, or of ornamentation ?
Do you agree with the thought from Emerson, " Beauty
rests on necessities " ?
Why would a museum or curiosity shop not be beautiful
as a sitting-room ?
LIST OF BOOKS FOR REFERENCE.
Hygiene and Public Health. Louis C. Parkes, M.D. (H. K. Lewis,
How to Drain a House. George E. Waring, Jr. (H. Holt & Co.,
The Influence of Clothing on Health. Sir Frederic Treves (Cassell
& Co., London).
The Commonwealth. Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson, M.D. (Long-
Health and Life. Sir Benjamin Ward Richardson, M.D. (Daldy, J.,
& Co., London).
Dust and its Dangers. Prudden (G. P. Putnam's Sons).
Drinking Water and Ice Supplies. Prudden ((i. P. Putnam's Sons).
Modern Dress. T. F. Pearse, M.D. (Wyman & Sons, London).
The Philosophy of Clothing. W. M'atthieu Williams (T. Laurie,
Household Economics. Helen Campbell (Little, Brown & Co.).
Domestic Science, Lucy Salmon (G. P. Putnam's Sons),
Food for School Children. Collected Leaflets, Home Science Pub-
lishing Company, 485 Tremont Street.
Rumford Kitchen Leaflets, Nos. 16 and 20.
Llousehold Financiering. Professor Smith in the Kitchen Magazine
House Beautiful. A magazine published by Herbert Stone & Co.,
Beauty in the Home. Leaflets published by Twentieth Century
Club, 14 Ashburton Place.
You will find other valuable books in the list published by
the Anna Ticknor Library Association, Trinity Court, Sta-
tion B, Boston ; in the one on the last page of " l^eauty in
the Home " ; and in the one given in " Household Econom-
ics " by Helen Campbell.
Mrs. Sarah A. Forbes, Chainnau,
Mrs. Mary C. Collar,
Mr^. Anna D. Hallowici ^
Miss Helen A. Wright,
Ciwunittee on Household Science
Boston, October, 1899. J^^ ^ ^cl^ ^'^VA ^'^"^
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