Household Hints

In addition to political essays, articles about faith, and poetry, Woman's Exponent provides a perspective on the daily lives of women in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The "Household Hints" section of the newspaper can help a reader imagine what it was like to run a household in the past. An early column from 1872 features reflections on household economy, a recipe for Eve's Pudding (apple-based, of course), and instructions on properly using a mop.

The West--Life and Customs P.28

Woman peeling potatoes, circa 1850-1900 

The West--Life and Customs P.72

Woman with grapes at a table, 1902.

The West--Life and Customs P.77

Woman holding a gun and a bird, 1902.

Some household hints sound potentially dangerous today, such as this short column from 1911 which provides advice for storing away “the heavy wraps and bedding used in the cold weather” in spring by sprinkling them with gasoline and layering them between sheets of newspaper. While this advice may sound like an invitation to a house fire, it appears that gasoline was effective at keeping pests away from clothing that surely would have been expensive to replace.

An 1874 Household Hints column instructs the reader to be particularly careful of needles,  which “are very useful articles, but are extremely dangerous when dropped about the floors...or when carelessly left.”  The column recounts four tales of severe maladies caused by accidental contact with needles, especially when the needles break off in the skin.  The columnist indicates that "Numerous other cases might be mentioned" but she feels the once cited are "sufficient to forcibly impress upon the minds of the incautious the great importance of being careful about needles." 

The West--Life & Customs p. 24

Woman preparing liquids with funnel near a 19th-century kitchen stove, circa 1890-1903.

The West--Life and Customs P.81

Woman sitting at desk reading, 1902.

While "Household Hints" appeared with regularity between 1872 and 1911, earlier in this period, the section was extensive, sometimes crossing two or more columns of print. In later issues of Woman's Exponent, the section shrunk somewhat, only taking up a paragraph or so.  Perhaps this reflects an editorial shift with the paper, as other columns and ideas were emphasized more in the later years of publication for Woman's Exponent

To cite this webpage, use the following citation: 

Neatrour, Anna. “Household Hints.” Woman’s Exponent Project, 2019.


Photos in this page used courtesy Utah State Historical Society, used with permission.

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