Marriage



Left, "Looking for Papa", 1890
Above, from Harper's Monthly Magazine, 1907

____________________________________________

She rose to His Requirement-dropt
The Playtings of Her Life
To take the honourable work
of Woman, and of Wife-

Emily Dickinson


"Whatever have been the cares of the day, greet your husband with a smile when he returns. Make your personal appearance just as beautiful as possible. Let him enter rooms so attractive and sunny that all the recollections of his home, when away from the same, shall attract him back."

Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms, 1888

It is the wife's responsibility to provide her husband "a happy home... the single spot of rest which a man has upon this earth for the cultivation of his noblest sensibilities."

The Household, 1882
A Wife's Devotion, 1896
from The Voyage of Life, 1883 Despite the reduction of legal requirements and lengthening of residence requirements, the divorce rates surged between 1870 and 1920 (Deglar). Advice givers believed the reasons for the changes to the American family were the result of women's "selfish desires" to pursue opportunities away from the home and a devaluation of the role of motherhood and housewife. In response, images of devoted wives and mothers were featured in numerous advice magazines. In these images, the wife is usually draped over her husband, or holding her child to create the image of a nurturing woman and complete family. In many cases, the husband looks sick or worried to remind women of the pressure and anxiety that men faced with the recent changes to the economy. The woman's direct gaze is almost never shown.






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