This blog was created as a project for History 327, US Women’s History to 1870; a course offered at the University of Mary Washington.


Mrs. L.G Abell’s introduction in Woman in Her Various Relations

The present volume is offered to the public, dedicated to American Females. We are living when the allotments and responsibilities of Woman, in her own appropriate sphere, should be brought before the mind in their true weight and importance.  We need this, that the education shall be better adapted to her wants and condition, and that she may be satisfied there need nothing be added to magnify, elevate, or extend her duties.

May the precepts of this work find a note of response in every heart; and as it performs its silent age, and guide in the momentous, all-pervading, far-reaching, practical duties of her everyday life”[1]


Abell’s passage exemplifies several themes which will be explored throughout my project including the rise of the middle-class woman and her “appropriate sphere”. Through this blog, I hope the reader understands why etiquette manuals, such as the Abell’s Woman in Her Various Relations, were increasingly popular during the nineteenth century. I explore the role of the manuals in creating, guiding, and perpetuating middle-class ideals about womanhood. In order to accomplishing this, I focus on authors’ advice to women on the virtues of piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness.


– Kasey Moore




[1] L. G. Abell, Woman in Her Various Relations: Containing Practical Rules for American Females, the Best Methods for Dinners and Social Parties, a Chapter for Young Ladies, Mothers, and Invalids, Hints on the Body, Mind, and Character, (New York: William Holdredge, 1851), 1.


The image of the young lady in the header is from :

Photograph 7 of 46, c. 1890, Victorian Child’s Scrapbook, Philadelphia, posted by Richard “rich701”, http://www.flickr.com/photos/rich701/8487518746, accessed November 14, 2013.