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We all have a story to tell. Some speak louder than others. Listen closely to hear the stories of our ancestors echoing under our footsteps. They are the authors. We are the keepers.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Herstoryan's Hearth: Good Housekeeping (1907)

Excerpt from: Russell, Henry B. . "Unchanged from Colony Days." Good Housekeeping July 1907: 513-518. Google Books. Web. 6 June 2010.

Housekeeping according to the usual conception of it, is that estimable art which, by contributing in various effective ways to neatness, order, coziness, and unobtrusive elegance, produces the choicest type of a home. The word housekeeping, however may have another significance seldom used or thought of, for the good reason that the precise conditions to which it is applicable are extremely rare, at least in this country, where the rapid development of a rather migratory people has been attended by frequent moving days and constant casting aside of the old for the new. Housekeeping, in this other and rarer significance means, not simply keeping a house neat, orderly, cozy and elegant, but keeping it just as it has been kept for over a hundred years, and keeping in it, in the same places, and using daily, those things which have been used by the family for a century, some of them for over two centuries.
It applies only to that house in which every day the grandmother of today sits down to the same dining table at which her grandparents sat when they came into the house not long after their honeymoon trip of over a century ago, and, indeed, sits in the very same chairs that they sat in and the same that their ancestors sat in a century before that, or in those early colonial times when those who battled with the hard conditions of life either made great characters or died young. This kind of housekeeping therefore is that which not only keeps a house as it ought to be kept, but keeps it as it has always been kept.


  1. I had never thought of housekeeping in quite this way before. It's hard to imagine anyone doing it these days, isn't it? I wish there were even just one ancestral home in my family.

  2. Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Bill ;-)
    Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"