This enlightening Pre- Civil War book is entitled “The Young Lady’s Home”. The author is Mrs. Louisa C. Tuthill who is also the renowned author of “I Will Be a Lady” (also for sale on our site. Tuthill was a master at story-telling, and her books have a conversational tone that is easy to read and yet teaches many facets of Victorian life.
The book opens to a lovely frontispiece engraving of a Victorian bride, with the caption “Leaving Home” at center bottom. Often books of this type were the only source of education for young ladies, especially so if one lived in rural, outlying areas. This one in particular gives quite an insight into life prior to the Civil War.
A little tidbit about the author:
Louisa C. Tuthill: born 1798, died 1879. Louisa Tuthill took a strongly anti-feminist stance, opposing a role for women beyond the home. She views "a desire to mingle in public affairs, a wrangling in controversy, and a hankering for public applause [as] unbecoming the dignity and delicacy of woman."
The Contents include:
Formation of Character.
Cultivation of Taste.
A Daughter’s Duty.
A Sister’s Influence.
Th Economy of Home.
Employment of Time.
Acting From General Principles.
Consistency of Character.
The Claims of Society.
Reading the Sacred Scriptures.
The Standard of Christian Character.
Christian Duty – Cheerfulness.
Christian Duty – Forgiveness and Forbearance, Self-Denial, Self-Government, Prayer.
Below are some excerpts from the text:
On the subject of Dress:
1. Let your dress be in fashion. 2. Let dress be adapted to the season of the year. 3. The dress should not fit so tightly as to impede motion or respiration…the evils of tight lacing…so destructive to health, life and even true beauty…a lingering suicide. 4. Dress should be neat. 5. Dress should be simple. 6. Dress should be modest. 7. Dress should be appropriate. 8. Dress should correspond in some degree with the wealth of the wearer. 9. Dress should not occupy too much time and thought, nor be made the subject of never-ending discussion.
Flattery implies an intention to deceive, to mislead with regard to appearance or merit, either to gain favor, or to make sport of another’s vain credulity. It is a base, a mean and craven spirit, that offers this incense at any shrine.
On The Claims of Society:
If some men seek society for relaxation from severe mental application, there are others who consider it as only one mode of that amusement, which is the occupation of their lives. These prefer that frivolity and nonsense should reign with undisputed sway in ladies’ society. That in the giddy whirl, not only sober thought, but the very semblance of thought, should be annihilated. They are contented with the whip, and care not for the cream, of conversation, which, in conscience, is light enough; and it must be confessed, that many young ladies show a very accommodating spirit in yielding to their taste.
On Politeness (goodness, what people nowadays could learn from this…!:
1. It is necessary to understand the customs of the place where you are, to avoid any departure from conventional good manners. 2. A well-bred woman should be perfectly self-possessed. 3. Gracefulness of motion is delightful, especially where it springs from an innocent and free spirit retained from childhood. 4. Due deference to age and superiority. 5. It is a grievous fault for a young lady to be so exclusive occupied with the gentlemen, in society, as to pay no attention to the ladies; not a very uncommon fault, either. A beautiful and admired lady, the centre of attention, appears truly lovely when she endeavours to make others appear to the best advantage, and when, seeking out some modest, retiring girl, who has retreated to a corner, she forgets herself in contributing to the enjoyment of another. 6. Flirtation should hardly have been mentioned as an offence against good manners, for it encroaches upon good morals, good taste, and good sense. The chapters cover all things a young Victorian woman should need to know, couched in the morals of society, and all their social convections and rules. It was all too important that a young lady be thoroughly familiar, so as to navigate the social ladder.
This hardbound, brown cloth covered book, has a nice recessed design on BOTH cover boards, and gilt imprinting on the spine. The inside hinge papers are amazingly uncracked, the pages very clean with almost no blemishes. The cover board corners are sharp, text block tight. The front flyleaf has a fountain pen gift inscription from Jan. 1, 1847, and a tiny area of residue upper right corner. The 335 pages are a linen-like stock, with an almost dark brown ink. This was most likely a cabinet book that was never read. Please note: the bride photo has a tissue overlay that has given a bit of ghosting to only the title page. Overall size is 5 x 7 5/8 inches, in near FINE condition.