Old Fashioned Homemaking

by Catherine Haug

Our website got a comment from Kurt in Texas, concerning a website of archived texts/books regarding old-time skills including homemaking, cooking, sewing, etc., published in the 1800s and early 1900s. This archive site also has useful books on other sustainability topics such as blacksmithing. Read on for the text of the comment, and a sampling of archived books.

First let me thank you for a very informative site. Just found The EssentiaList and will be back many times.

Now to get to what I wanted to pass on. I came across the listing concerning an external link about a book titled “A Manual of Home Making (1919) that had a link to an HTML version of the book. Time consuming to [download] and keep the data. For older books like this, I try looking at the Internet Archive: Archive.org for texts (1). Found the above mentioned book and [downloaded] it in pdf format: A Manual of Home Making (2)

There are usually other formats you may choose from including txt. Great source for older print material. As an example, try searching for “cook book”. Many older cookbooks come up in the results.

There are other locations that have older print material, such as:

Thanks again for the ESP!

A Sampling of Books from Archive.org

These books are all large files; do not try to download unless you have high-speed internet. You can download as a pdf, as well as other download options, including on-line view.

A Manual of Home-Making

A Manual of Home-Making, by Martha Van Rensselaer, 1864-1932, copyright 1919, published February, 1919 by MacMillan Company.

This pdf is 43.6 MB. The 661-page book is divided into four parts, each with separate chapters and illustrations:

  • Part I: The House and its Furnishings (3 chapters)
  • Part !!: Household Management (10 chapters)
  • Part III: Clothing (3 chapters)
  • Part IV: Foods and Nutrition (18 chapters)

The Hearthstone

The full title of this book is The Hearthstone: or, Life at Home. A Household Manual. Containing hints and helps for homemaking; home furnishing; Decorations; Amusements; Health Directions; the Sickroom; the Nursery; the Library; the Laundry; etc., Together with a Complete Cookery Book. Authored and Copyright 1883 by Laura C. Holloway. Published by Bradley, Garretson & Co..

This pdf is 29.6 Mb pdf. The 582 page book is divided into the following sections:

  • Homes, Ancient and Modern
  • Home-Making and Home-Management
  • The Baby in the Home
  • Up-Stairs, Down-Stairs, In My Lady’s Chamber
  • Sports and Games for Ladies
  • The Library in the Home
  • Choice of Occupation
  • In the Sick-Room
  • The Physician in the Home
  • Medicinal and Hygienic Recipes
  • Economy in the Home
  • Life at Home
  • Household Ornamentation
  • Floriculture and Horticulture
  • The Laundry
  • The Toilet
  • Company in the Home
  • Home Memories
  • Pets in the Household
  • The Mother in the Home
  • Duty of Parents to Children
  • Death in the Home
  • Home Architecture
  • Cookery Recipes
  • Miscellaneous Household Recipes
  • Social Forms


  1. www.archive.org/details/texts
  2. www.archive.org/search.php?query=A%20Manual%20Of%20Home-Making%20AND%20mediatype%3Atexts
  3. www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page
  4. digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/cookbooks/html/browse.html

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