Vintage article on home and family


Some of this has absolutely no bearing on today, at least not in the U.S. Some of it presents useful principles and ideas.vintage 1920 mom tot front door puppy  The illustrations are mostly advertisements I found in a 1920 House Beautiful or similar magazine.


The first essential of the perfect home is its adaptation to the family.  It is this adaptation to the financial or social standing of the family that makes its harmony. If its cost exceeds the financial freedom of the family, if it is a house that expresses what the family are reaching after, not what they are, there can be no harmony for there is no rest. Rest, repose, is the foundation of peace, and peace is the angel that guards every true and repose 2


cottageIt is not the amount of money spent in a week, a month, or a year in maintaining the home that determines its character. It is the results obtained by the expenditure, whether the amount be large or small. If the home-maker has placed at her disposal the sum of twelve thousand dollars a year and through ignorance or indifference is not able to secure the best possible results from this amount, she is as culpable, as much to be condemned, as the home-maker who fails to produce the best possible results from the expenditure of three hundred and sixty-five dollars per year. The happiness of the family depends on the purchasing power of the money expended by the home-maker. If her ignorance reduces its purchasing power, the family must suffer.


vintage housewife grocery shopping at the butcher shopNo law can be laid down for the expending of a family income. The needs, the tastes, the conditions, of no two families are the same, while the incomes of thousands of families are identical. We cannot proceed upon the principle that the division of expenditures being identical, the results would be equally good for all. It were easy to make a law were this true. It is this diversity of life that is at once its beauty and its difficulty. Each family must be a law unto itself. The wisdom of the controller is shown in the adapting of income and expenses, whether for necessities or luxuries. The home-maker equals her opportunity as she is able to use the income placed in her hands so that it secures the greatest freedom for each member of the family to grow in health, morals, and spiritual grace. The foundation, then, of the family life is the income plus the intelligence of the heads of the family.
The social position of the family is the accident, the result of this combination in addition to antecedent conditions.

The income of the average American family is estimated at about five hundred dollars a year. The incomes above and below this average represent the upward and downward scale of social opportunities. The problem of living is hardest to solve in the United States for families of refinement who have the natural ambitions of intelligence- how to live that they may secure at the same time the greatest freedom and the greatest privacy. Rent is the first item. What proportion of the income can be expended for rent?We are told that no man should spend more than one-fourth of his income for rent. But we cannot accept this as an unchangeable law, for one-fourth of the income of some families will not secure space enough for privacy and a greater proportion than one fourth must be for rent. This extra allowance then must be secured by economy in other expenditures. The social life,  the wardrobe,  or the food supply,  must pay their tribute to this absolute expense that cannot be brought below a certain point without affecting,  not only the comfort,  but the health and morals of the family.

cottage 2

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