American Woman's Home - Exterior

In the chapter "The Christian Neighborhood", Beecher and Stowe presented what is perhaps the summit of their mutual aspirations for the American domestic space. The figure to the right is an enlarged view of their conception of the Christian home. It is the ideal home in which to conduct the missionary work that all Christians are called to do - "A small church, a school-house, and a comfortable family dwelling may all be united in one building." [Beecher/Stowe, 455]

In many ways, this design is the culmination of the mission begun for Beecher in 1841 with A Treatise on Domestic Economy. It is the convergence of her dreams of economy, taste, Christian virtue, and, not least, female empowerment, "Two ladies residing in this building can make an illustration of the highest kind of "Christian family," by adopting two orphans, keeping in training one or two servants to send out for the benefit of other families, and also providing for an invalid or aged member of Christ's neglected ones." [Beecher/Stowe, 457-8.] In this home more than any other, the woman is God's "chief minister."

The Christian Neighborhood