A History of American Housework
Author: Susan Strasser; With a New Preface
Never Done is the first history of American housework. Beginning with a description of household chores of the nineteenth century--cooking at fireplaces and on cast-iron stoves, laundry done with wash boilers and flatirons, endless water hauling and fire tending--Susan Strasser demonstrates how industrialization transformed the nature of women's work. Lightening some tasks and eliminating the need for others, new commercial processes inexorably altered women's daily lives and relationships--with each other and with the people they served.
In this lively and authoritative book, Strasser weaves together the history of material advances and discussions of domestic service, "women's separate sphere" and the impact of advertising, home economics and women's entry into the workforce.
Hailed as pathbreaking when originally published, Never Done remains an eye-opening examination of daily life in the American past.
In The News
“A work of genius. . . marvelous to read.” —Carolyn See, Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Lively and provocative. . . a wonderful book. For bringing housework into the light of historical scholarship, Strasser deserves to have her name become a household word.” —Jacqueline Jones, author of American Work: Four Centuries of Black and White Labor
“Remarkable, rich and acute” —The New Yorker