Pictures and Illustrations.
How to Redeem Woman's Profession From Dishonor.
IN this Magazine for November, 1864, it was shown that woman's distinctive profession includes three departments—the training of the mind in childhood, the nursing of infants and of the sick, and all the handicrafts and management of the family state. With perhaps the exception of the school training of children, it was claimed that the profession of woman is socially disgraced, so that no woman of culture and refinement, in the wealthy classes, would resort to cooking, chamber-work, or nursing infants and the sick for a livelihood, scarcely any more than their brothers would resort to burglary or piracy.
It was shown also that women are not trained for their profession as men are for theirs; that there is no provision made for it in public or private schools; and that every school, as well as other social influence, tends at once to disgrace woman's profession and to destroy her health.
Woman, as well as man, was made to work; and her Maker has adapted her body to its appropriate labor. The tending of children and doing house-work exercise those very muscles which are most important to womanhood; while neglecting to exercise the arms and trunk causes dangerous debility in most delicate organs.
Our early mothers worked and trained their daughters to work, and thus became healthy, energetic, and cheerful. But in these days, young girls, in the wealthy classes, do not use the muscles of their body and arms in domestic labor or in any other way. Instead of this, study and reading stimulate the brain and nerves to debility by excess, while the muscles grow weak for want of exercise. Thus the whole constitution is weakened.
In consequence of this there is a universal lamentation over the decay of the female constitution and the ruined health of both women and girls. At the same time vast numbers are without honorable compensating employment, so that in the wealthy circles unmarried women suffer from aimless vacuity, and in the poorer classes from unrequited toil and consequent degradation and vice.
It is believed that the remedy for all these evils is not in leading women into the professions and business of men, by which many philanthropists are now aiming to remedy their sufferings, but to train woman properly for her own proper business, and then to secure to her the honor and profit which men gain in their professions.
A young man finds endowed institutions all over the land, offering a home and a good salary for life for teaching only one or two branches to only one class for one or two hours a day. Is there any reason why his highly-educated sister should not have similar opportunities if sir does not marry or is a widow?
The public and private high schools have filled the country with women of high culture. The unequal distribution of the sexes and a dreadful war must enforce a single life on many thousands. Many are widows with families; many others would gladly rear the orphan children of relatives and friends or of our slaughtered heroes. Why should not such have as good advantages to do so as if they were men? Each department of woman's profession is a science and art as much as law, medicine, or divinity. They are equal also in importance. Why should they not be equally honored by a liberal course of training and competent emolument?
When men seek to elevate their own profession they endow professorships so as to secure men of the highest culture to study and teach it as a science and art.
At one time the farmer's profession was without skill, honor, or liberal reward. To raise it to an honored art and science, endowments have been given to sustain men of culture and learning to lecture, practice, and teach; and now this business is taking rank as an honorable and remunerative profession.
Let woman's profession be thus honored and its disgrace would speedily be ended. Let endowed institutions be provided to sustain women of high culture to study, practice, and teach all the branches included in woman's profession properly. Let each of our large cities and towns have at least one institution so endowed, and then there would be created a liberal profession for highly-cultivated women suited to their nature, and meeting the wants of those who are unmarried or widowed; such a profession as their brothers and fathers now enjoy as college professors in educating men.
Woman's business being thus honored and taught in the higher institutions the lower schools would follow, and thus women of the poorer classes also would be properly trained for their proper business. And when thus trained they would find abundant and compensating employment; for the universal complaint of all who try to find employment for poor women is, that they are not trained to do any kind of woman's work properly, and that this is the fatal difficulty.
There is as much need for training women for the distinctive duties of the family as there is of training boys for their different trades. A housekeeper or a cook, who has been taught to economize in using and preserving family stores and fuel, can supply a table at half the expense incurred by an untrained, inexperienced hand.
A properly trained nurse for young children would relieve a mother of half her care as to the health and training of her children; while an ignorant, unfaithful one rather adds to her responsibilities.
A well-educated, gentle, and faithful nurse for the sick is a treasure in any community as rare as it is valuable.
A woman of education and refinement who can cut and fit dresses, make bonnets, make and mend all household stuffs economically, and at the same time help in cooking, and in keeping chambers and parlors in tasteful order, is a treasure that wealth rarely can command at any price. Women of good sense and culture, if highly qualified for such domestic duties, could soon command prices equal to artists in music, dancing, and drawing, and an equal social position.
To secure all this, there needs only systematic plans and efforts such as American women are fully competent to organize and carry into successful operation. Institutions should be established where women will be trained to be scientific, healthful, and economical cooks; to be intelligent, loving, and careful nurses of young children; to be skillful seamstresses and mantua-makers, and yet prepared so to aid in the active family work as not to injure their health by exclusive sedentary employments.
So, too, there should be institutions to educate women not only as physicians for their own sex, but to be skillful and tender nurses of the sick. And when all these important offices of women are filled, and our school-rooms well supplied, there will be few women remaining to urge into the professions of men.
This project will, of course, be met with the inquiry, how can this kind of training be carried on in, schools? Is it not the part that belongs to mothers in the family, and not to the school?
To this it is replied that mothers have not been trained themselves, and so can not teach properly. Moreover, with poor servants, feeble health, and multiplied cares, they can not do it. If a house is built for servants, and servants employed, it is as much as a woman can do to superintend all the complicated duties of wife, mother, and housekeeper, without attempting to teach what she herself never was properly taught to do. Moreover, when there are servants enough to do the work, the daughters of a family can not be made to take their places. How can the parents turn off the servants and put the daughters in their places? Every mother who superintends a family of children and servants in the present style of living in the more wealthy classes, will say it is impossible for her to train her daughters properly in all branches of woman's business.
But whatever ought to be can be done, and American women, if they undertake, can discover the best way.
Queen Victoria set up schools for young women to be trained not only to read and write, but to perform all the work of woman in a thorough and proper manner. Her nobility followed her example, and with success.
American women can do the same, and in a way adapted to our democratic system, as the Queen's is adapted to the aristocratic. In an aristocracy it is assumed that one class is to work for the benefit and enjoyment of an upper class. In a democracy it is assumed that every class is to work for their own welfare and enjoyment. In an aristocracy work is dishonored, in a democracy it is honored. In an aristocracy it is assumed as a distinctive mark of rank not to work, but to live to be waited on and worked for by a subordinate class. In a democracy it is assumed that both rich and poor
712are to work, and that to live a life of idle pleasure is disgraceful.
When, therefore, the attempt is made to introduce industrial training into our schools, we are simply aiming to carry out practically the true democratic principle.
But there is a still higher aim. It will be found that the democratic principle is no other than the grand law of Christianity, which requires work and self-sacrifice, for the public good, to which all private interests are to be subordinate.
Children are to be trained to live not for themselves but for others; not to be waited on and taken care of, but to wait on and take care of others; to work for the good of others as the first thing, and amusement and self-enjoyment as necessary but subordinate to the highest public good. The family is the first commonwealth where this training is to be carried on, and only as a preparation for a more enlarged sphere of action.
Jesus Christ came to set the example of self-sacrificing labor for the good of our race; and family training and school training are democratic and Christian only when the great principle of living for others more than for self is fully recognized and carried out.
It is clear that great changes are to be made in all the customs and habits of our nation, especially among the wealthy, before the true democratic and Christian principle will triumph over the aristocratic and unchristian.
One of these changes will be in the style of house building.
When houses are built on Christian principles women of wealth and culture will work themselves, and train their children to work, instead of having ignorant foreigners to ruin their food in a filthy kitchen, and ruin their children in the nursery.
When houses are built to honor woman's profession, and to secure the beauty, order, and comfort of a perfected house, the kitchen, as it usually exists, will be banished. Instead of the dark and comfortless room for family work, there will be one provided with sunlight and pure air, and well supplied with utensils and comforts in tasteful and convenient forms. So woman's dress will be not only neat and convenient but tasteful, as much so in the working-room as in the parlor.
Woman's work will be honorable and tasteful and agreeable when cultivated women undertake to make it so.
And when women of refinement and culture build houses on the Christian and democratic plan, work themselves, and train their children to work, they will never suffer for want of domestic helpers. Instead of coarse and vulgar servants, who live in the cellar and sleep in the garret, they will have refined and sympathizing friends to train their children, nurse their sick, and share in all their comforts, joys, and sorrows.
American women have abundant power to remedy all the wrongs and miseries of their sex, by simply educating them properly for their proper business.
Many wealthy ladies would as readily endow institutions for their own sex as for men, were they aware of what might thus be accomplished. Few know what woman has done to aid men in elevating their professions. To gain authentic information on this point, the writer wrote to the Treasurers of only six colleges and professional schools, and gained these facts:
|Miss Plummer, to Cambridge University, to endow one professorship, gave||$25,000|
|Mary Townsend, for the same||25,000|
|Sarah Jackson, ditto||10,000|
|Other ladies, in sums over $1000, to the same, over||30,000|
|To Andover Professional School of Theology ladies have given over||68,000|
|And of this $30,000 by one lady.|
|In Illinois, Mrs. Garretson has given to one Professional School||300,000|
|In Albany, Mrs. Dudley has given for a Scientific Institution for men.||105,000|
|To Beloit College, Wisconsin, property has been given by one lady valued at||30,000|
Thus half a million has been given by women to these six Colleges and Professional Schools, and all in the present century. The reports of similar institutions for men all over the nation would show similar liberal benefactions of women to endow institutions for the other sex, while for their own no such records appear. Where is there a single endowment from a woman to secure a salary to a woman teaching her own proper profession?
But a time will come when women will give as liberally to elevate the true profession of women as the ministers of home, as they have to elevate the professions of men.
The remainder of this article will give drawings and descriptions to illustrate one house constructed on democratic and Christian principles. It is designed for persons in easy circumstances, who begin housekeeping with the true Christian idea of training a young family to work as well as to practice all the other social and domestic virtues.
Every family, as the general rule, includes the parents as the educators, and the children to be trained to Christian life. To these are added aged parents or infirm and homeless relatives. These are preserved in life after their active usefulness ceases, and often when they would gladly depart, for the special benefit of the young, as the only mode in which, in early life, they can be trained to self-sacrificing benevolence, to reverence for the aged, and to tender sympathy for the sick and unfortunate. Instead of regarding such members of a family as a burden and annoyance, the wise and Christian parents will welcome them as suffering helpers aiding to develop the highest Christian virtues in their children.
This house is planned for a family of ten or twelve, which may be regarded as the average number in healthy families.
The site is a dry spot with a cellar well drained, in an open space, where the
713health-giving sun falls on every part, and the house so placed that the rooms in common use shall have the sun all day.
A form nearest a square best secures sunlight, perfect ventilation, and economical arrangement. Every projection increases expense and diminishes the chances of sunlight, proper warming, and ventilation.
The close packing of conveniences, so as to save time and steps, and contrivances to avoid the multiplication of rooms to be furnished, cleaned, and kept in order, is indispensable to economy of time, labor, and expense. In many large kitchens, with various closets, half the time of a cook is employed in walking to collect her utensils and materials, which all might be placed together.
The plan given above is rather a hint to be farther wrought out than a completed effort.
The house is fifty by thirty on the outside (excluding the projections of the back and front entrance). It faces south, giving to the two large rooms the sun all day.
The entrance hall is finished with oiled chestnut and black walnut mouldings, being handsomer, cheaper, and easier to keep in order than painted wood. All the inner doors of the hall finished with Gothic arches to correspond with the outside door. Niches for busts and flowers, each side of the front-door, with small closets under the niches for over-shoes and the like. Small windows open on one side to the conservatory, and on the other to the veranda. A close staircase, and under it a large closet for overgarments.
When the house has bathrooms and water-closets in the second story there is no need of back stairs. But if they are desired, a narrow flight can descend from the broad stair to the back entry by giving up the recess and the closet of the Family Room.
The East Room, called the Family Room, is for the family eating and sitting room. A working room should always have the pleasant morning sun. It is 18 feet square, and opens with sliding-doors to the cooking — stove A, cooking closet B, with the cooking-form. In the drawing of the cooking-closet, given below, is an illustration of the close packing of conveniences.
In front of the window is the cooking-form. The door, F, admits a barrel of flour, and a lid on the top, G, is to raise when using flour. In the barrel a scoop and sieve. On the left of this is the moulding-board C, where bread is made, and other articles for baking prepared on a board which may be turned on one side for cooking, and the other side for other uses. Next to the flour closet are large drawers, the under ones running on rollers, in which are stored the Indian and Graham flour, the rye, tapioca, rice, etc., and two kinds of sugar used in cooking. On front and at the side are shelves, on which are stored every utensil and every article used in cooking.
Still farther to the left hand of the flour closet is the form, x, for preparing meats and vegetables, on the top a board turned on one side to
714cut meat and vegetables, and the other side for Other uses. On shelves in front are stored all the utensils and articles used in cooking meats and vegetables, and in preparing them for the table. In this cooking closet, by an economic arrangement, is stored all the family stores and supplies, and all the utensils for cooking and taking care of food. The shelves should reach to the ceiling, and the highest have small closets to hold articles not often wanted.
In the dish closet, D, is the sink, near both to the stove and the eating-room. Over it, and each side, are stored all the dishes. Thus two or three steps bring the dishes to the table, and from it to the sink and shelves. The sink to be of marble, with plated cocks to furnish hot and cold water. Nice small mops for washing dishes hung over the sink, and a convenient contrivance for drying towels over the stove.
The stove is placed between the dish and cooking closet, inclosed by partitions to the wall, with rising or sliding doors. A sliding closet, D W, to raise wood and coal from the cellar. Thus the stove can be entirely open in cold weather, and in the warm season closed tight with a contrivance to carry off the hot air and the smells of cooking into a ventilating flue.
By this arrangement when the folding-doors of the Family Room are open there is a large and airy room for work-hours, and every article and utensil close at hand. When work is over and the folding-doors closed the room is a cheerful sitting-room for the family. It is furnished with a cheerful green carpet, and the appended work - closets are covered with a light green oil-cloth to match the carpet. On one side is a closet, for china, glass, and silver, with a small sink for washing them. In two corners are niches for busts and flowers, with small closets under them for working conveniences. A fire-place and mantle ornaments tempt the family gathering around the social hearth. The room opens to the piazza by sliding-doors. Glass roof and partitions in winter can turn this into a green-house, warmed by a register. On one side is a recess for a piano. This and the adjacent room to have deadened walls, so that the mother, if weary or ill, can find perfect quiet in the Home Room below or the Library above. The wearisome practicing of children on a piano will be thus escaped.
The stationary dining-table has appendages and conveniences under it, as do the Ottomans with lids, which serve to store newspapers and other matters. By such arrangements many steps are saved and order promoted. The covers of the sofa, ottomans, and table, and the wall-paper should match in color and design with the carpet, as also the window-shades. Such arrangements as these save the labor and expense of separate kitchen and dining-room, and also the expense of wasteful domestics. In such a house parents could train their children to be their happy associates in both work and play.
The West Room is specially for parents and children, and is named the Home Room. On the north is a bed recess concealed by folding-doors or curtains. On one side is the parents dressing-room, with drawers on one side to the ceiling, and a clothes-press. The other side is the children's room, with drawers and clothes-press, close to the bath and water-closet and back outside door, so that children can run out and in without using other parts of the house. On one side of the back - door is a closet for garden tools and shoes, and on the other side a wash-bowl and towel, with a towel closet at hand, near both to this and to the bath-room.
The Home Room opens to a south conservatory and small fountain. Here parents can train their children to love and rear flowers, not for themselves alone, but for those who are less favored. Every child can not only give flowers to friends, but save seeds to give to some poor children, and teach them how to adorn their own homes with such blossoms of love and beauty. A sofa recess is in this room, and two niches in the opposite corners with work-closets under, while the centre-table and ottomans are provided with hidden places for storing conveniences. The bed recess and dressing-rooms are so provided with drawers and closets, reaching to the wall, that every article needed by parents and children may be stored close at hand. Windows in each division, and openings over partitions, secure ventilation.
At night, the parents and two little ones have a large and airy bedroom. In the day, these doors being closed, the same room is a nursery or a parlor at pleasure.
The carpet, wall-paper, covers of furniture, and window-shades, all are in harmony—blue and buff, or white and green, or gray and pink, as the taste may lead.
The drawing on the top of page 715 gives the second-floor, with its dormer-windows and balconies, the roof being so contrived that a current of air passes between the walls of the chambers and the roof, preventing excessive heat in summer. There are five good sized bedrooms, each with a closet. The largest can be finished with an arched ceiling, and furnished as a drawing-room and library, where parents and guests can retire from the work and children below. A method of deadening the walls also is provided, so that the noise of one room will not pass to the others.
A ventilating flue may be made, with a current of warm air from the stove in summer, and
715the furnace and stove in winter, and connected with every room, securing perfect ventilation, without care and in spite of false, notions, in all seasons, and by day and night. Fire-places in every room but two give these sources of comfort and health.
There is only one stair-case, with a broad stair and two landings; to which, by giving up a closet below, may be added a narrow stair from the broad stair to the back-door, under the narrow stairway to the garret. There are two bath-rooms and a water-closet, with easy access from the chambers. In the country water can be gathered on the roof, or raised by a forcing-pump to a reservoir in the garret, for the use of the water-closet.
The annexed drawing gives the cellar, with its white plastered walls and hard water-cement floor. The south front portion is fitted up with tubs for a laundry and drying-room, having windows admitting sun and air. Should it be wanted for a kitchen, the cellar should be extended under the veranda, arches being used to support the wall of the room above. The windows of thick glass placed in the floor of the veranda would admit sunlight, and if made to rise would also admit air. The outside door to this room also could be made of glass to admit light.
The north part receives the wood and coal, and a sliding closet, D W, close to the stove, filled once a day, and easily raised (like a dumb-waiter), supplies fuel with little labor. A room is parted off for vegetables that should be shut out from the light and warmth of the furnace, a safe being close to the cellar stairs, and a form raised close by these stairs to hold articles to be kept in a cellar, which save steps and waste.
All the inner wood-work to be combinations of chestnut, walnut, white wood, black walnut, or pine—oiled or varnished.
The engraving which heads this article gives a perspective view of the house and grounds, with trees, etc. The trees are in a thick clump, to make a dense shade near the house, but not so as to shut out the sun from all parts of the roof.
A house on this plan will accommodate a family of ten, and afford also a guest-chamber, and it offers all the conveniences and comforts and most of the elegances of houses that cost four times the amount and require three or four servants.
If a new-married pair commence housekeeping in it, the young wife, aided by a girl of ten or twelve, could easily perform all the labor except the washing and ironing, which could be done by hired labor in the basement. The first months of housekeeping could be spent in perfecting herself and her assistant, whom she could train to do all kinds of family work, and
716also to be her intelligent and sympathizing helper when children come.
While it should be the aim to render woman's profession so honorable that persons of the highest position and culture will seek it, as men seek their most honored professions, there must still be the class of servants, to carry out a style of living and expenditure both lawful and useful, where large fortunes abound. For this class the aim should be to secure their thorough preparation and to increase their advantages. Should both aims be achieved, then a woman who prefers a style of living demanding servants, will be so trained herself as not to be dependent on hirelings at the sacrifice of self-respect. On the other hand, a woman who chooses another style of living, so as to work herself and train her children to work, can do so without fear of losing any social advantages. Or, in case more helpers are needed, she can secure highly cultivated and refined friends to share all her family enjoyments, instead of depending on a class inferior in cultivation and less qualified to form the habits and tastes of her children.
But it is not the married alone who are privileged to become ministers in the home church of Jesus Christ. A woman without children, and with means of her own, could provide such a house as this, and take one child and a well-qualified governess to aid in training it. Then, after success inspires confidence, a second child might be adopted till the extent of her means and benevolence is reached.
There are multitudes of benevolent women, whose cultivated energies are now spent in a round of selfish indulgence, who would wake up to a new life if they thus met woman's highest calling as Heaven-appointed ministers of Christ, to train his neglected little ones for that kingdom of self-denying labor and love of which he is the model and head.
Thousands and thousands of orphans are now deprived of a father's home and support. Thousands of women, widowed in the dearest hopes of this life, are seeking for consolation in the only true avenues.
A great emergency in our nation has occurred, in which thousands of women are forever cut off from any homes of their own by marriage. Of these many are women of wealth and influence among Protestants, who in hospitals and battle-fields have been learning the highest lessons of self-sacrificing benevolence. Such will not return home to be idle, but will press toward those avenues that offer the most aid and sympathy; and if it is not provided by Protestants they will seek it in the Catholic fold.
Catholic convents provide their inmates with a comfortable home and opportunities of benevolence toward neglected children, the sick, and the poor. But they are burdened with a round of observances and rules involving the sacrifice of reason and conscience, and of personal independence. For complete submission to the Superior is the first duty. Moreover, this is not the family state designed by God, with its simple and natural duties, where two, united in love, or sometimes the widowed one alone, has an independent home and a small flock all under her own control, with none but God and her own conscience to rule.
There have been various attempts made to form communities on various modifications of the Fourierite plan, which brings individuals of all ages, tastes, and habits into one family, with no parents, or superior or bishop to control. Such are, and ever must be, failures.
So the boarding-school system, which takes children from parental love and close watch of the family state, giving them to strangers amidst new and multiplied temptations, this is, and ever must be, a failure.
The true Protestant system, yet to be developed and tried by women of wealth and benevolence, is the one here suggested; based not on the conventual, nor on the Fourierite, nor on the boarding-school systems, but on the Heaven-devised plan of the family state.
One aim of this article is to attract the notice of conscientious persons commencing the family state with means sufficient for a much more expensive establishment.
Many such really believe themselves the followers of Christ who have seldom practiced that economy which denies self to increase the advantages of the poor, especially in deciding on the style of living they adopt. Most wealthy persons provide houses, equipage, servants, and expenditures that demand most of their income, while the waste in their kitchens alone would, by careful economy, such as we see in France, feed another whole family.
When houses are built on Christian and democratic principles, and young girls in every condition of life are trained to a wise economy, thousands of young men, who can not afford to marry young ladies trained in the common boarding-school fashion, will find the chief impediment removed; and thus healthful and happy homes will multiply with our increasing wealth and culture.