Book Reviews -- American Home Life, 1880-1930: A Social History of Spaces and Services Edited by Jessica Foy and Thomas J. Schlereth

Article excerpt

American Home Life, 1880-1930: A Social History of Spaces and Services. Jessica Foy and Thomas J. Schlereth, editors. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 1993.

This book was conceived in the most propitious of circumstances. In 1987 the McFaddin-Ward House initiated a series of annual symposia on the American home around the turn of the 20th century. The 11 essays in this volume are a result of one year's deliberations. They are divided into three parts: "Room Life," "Home Life" and "Keeping House." The essays cover most--but by no means all--aspects of domestic life during the designated time limit.

Because, perhaps of the space limitations, the essays all tend to be more descriptive than analytic. At this stage in the study of domesticity in American life, perhaps the essays had to be descriptive to lay the ground work. So we get the physical setting. But we get very little of the life that was lived in these settings. …