Apologies. I have not been keeping this list up to date, but please email if you are trying to track down something in particular.

Books & writers ~
on the history of furnishings, housekeeping & domestic objects

>> Post-1900 books lower down page


Writers and books on housekeeping and domestic management (pre-20th century):

Catherine Esther Beecher, 1800-1878
A Treatise on Domestic Economy (1841)
and, with her sister,
Harriet Beecher Stowe,1811-1896
The American Woman's Home: or, Principles of domestic science (1869)

Isabella Mary Beeton, 1836-1865
The Book of Household Management - With a history of the origin, properties, and uses of all things connected with home life and comfort (1861)

Amelia Chambers
The ladies best companion; or, A golden treasure for the fair sex. (1775?) 

Esther Copley, (Esther Hewlett, née Beuzeville), 1786-1851
Cottage comforts, with hints for promoting them, gleaned from experience: enlightened with authentic anecdotes (1825)
The Young Servant's Friendly Instructor (1827)
The Comprehensive Knitting Book (1849)
Catechism of domestic economy (1850)

Mary Ann Bryan Mason, 1802-1881
The Young Housewife's Counsellor And Friend: Containing Directions In Every Department Of Housekeeping, Including The Duties Of Wife And Mother (1871)

Frances Parkes, (Fanny or Mrs. William Parkes, sister of Maria Byerley), 1786–1842
Domestic duties, or, Instructions to young married ladies, on the management of their households, and the regulation of their conduct in the various relations and duties of married life (1825) 

Constance Peel, 1868-1934, aka Mrs CS Peel, prolific journalist and writer of numerous books on household management and domestic history

Maria Rundell, 1745–1828
A new System of Domestic Cookery (1805)

Catherine Parr Traill, (Catherine Strickland, sister of Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland and Susanna Moodie), 1802 - 1899
The Backwoods of Canada (1836)
The Female Emigrant's Guide, and Hints on Canadian Housekeeping (1854)

Hannah Woolley
The Compleat Servant-Maid (1677)

Anonymous books, pre-20th century

  • The Lady's Companion, 1743
  • Cassell's Household Guide, 1870s?

Some of the books read or consulted for this website (1900 onwards):

  • Tibor Iván Berend, An Economic History of Twentieth-Century Europe (2006)
  • Patricia Crawford, Laura Gowing, Women's Worlds in Seventeenth-Century England (1999)
  • Clive Edwards, Turning Houses Into Homes: A History of the Retailing and Consumption of Domestic Furnishings (2005) 
  • David J Eveleigh, Bogs, Baths & Basins: The Story of Domestic Sanitation (Sutton 2002)
  • A H Glissman, The Evolution of the Sad-Iron (1970)
  • Barbara Ann Henisch, Fast and Feast
  • George Bernard Hughes, Living Crafts (Ayer 1971)
  • Gertrude Jekyll, Old West Surrey, 1904
  • Patricia Malcolmson, English Laundresses: A Social History, 1850-1930 (1986)
  • Barbara Megson, English Homes and Housekeeping 1700-1960 (1968)
  • Herbert Norris, Tudor Costume and Fashion (1997)
  • Constance Peel, A Hundred Wonderful Years: social and domestic life of a century, 1820-1920 (1926)
  • Lisa Picard, Elizabeth's London: Everyday Life in Elizabethan London
  • Edward H. Pinto, Treen and Other Wooden Bygones, 1969
  • Margaret Cuthbert Rankin, The Art and Practice of Laundry Work (1905)
  • Una A. Robertson, The Illustrated History of the Housewife, 1650-1950 (1999)
  • Pamela Sambrook, The Country House Servant, 1999
  • Flora Thompson, Lark Rise to Candleford (1945)
  • Gladys Scott Thomson, Life in a Noble Household 1641-1700 (1937)
  • Lawrence Wright, Warm and Snug - The History of the Bed (1962)
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  • Oxford English Dictionary
  • Dictionary of the Scots Language


  • Jacqueline M. Atkins, From lap to loom: The transition of Marseilles white work from hand to machine, in The Chronicle of the Early American Industries Association, Inc. (March 2001)
  • Elizabeth Collins Cromley, Sleeping around: A History of American Beds and Bedrooms, Journal of Design History, Vol. 3, No. 1 (1990)
  • F. M. Kelly, Shakespearian Dress Notes: Ruffs and Cuffs, in the Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs Vol. 29, no. 162 (September 1916)
  • Griffiths, Hunt, O'Brien, Inventive Activity in the British Textile Industry, 1700-1800, in the Journal of Economic History (December 1992)
  • Marilynn A. Johnson, John Hewitt, Cabinetmaker, Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 4 (1968)
  • M.F. Nimkoff, What Do Modern Inventions Do to Family Life?, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science , Vol. 272 (1950)
  • Names of Self-Service Laundries, American Speech, Vol. 33, No. 2, Part 2 (May, 1958)


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You may like our new sister site Home Things Past where you'll find articles about antiques, vintage kitchen stuff, crafts, and other things to do with home life in the past. There's space for comments and discussion too. Please do take a look and add your thoughts.  (Comments don't appear instantly.)

For sources please refer to the books page, and/or the excerpts quoted on the pages of this website, and note that many links lead to museum sites. Feel free to ask if you're looking for a specific reference - feedback is always welcome anyway. Unfortunately, it's not possible to help you with queries about prices or valuation.