The Bookshelf, The Parlor, The Young Texas Reader, and the Monthly

The Texas Bookshelf is different from the The Texas Parlor, http://texasparlor.blogspot.com/ . The Texas Parlor carries "general" bookish information and non-book information and even different Texana news and notes of use to the bibliographically challenged and other nosey folks intersted in historical, literary, and cultural observations. Will's Texana Monthly may carry material from either blog, but extends itself beyond those, especially for longer compilations or treatments. The Monthly, the Bookshelf and the Parlor are all companions. So, is the Young Texas Reader http://youngtexasreader.blogspot.com/ which specialized on books and such things for the youngest to the teenagers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Keeping Hearth & Home in Old Texas - Carol Padgett


Keeping Hearth & Home in Old Texas:

A Practical Primer for Daily Living.


Edited by Carol Padgett (in hat). Birmingham, Ala.: Menaha Ridge Press, dist by Globe Pequot, 2001. 240 pages, 5 x 7, hard cover, illustrations, bibliography, index ISBN 0-89732-409-9 $13.95 http://www.menasharidge.com/

The gracious Dr. Padgett adds Texas to her short list of the “Hearth & Home Series,” others including Alabama, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Colorado. The volume informs you as to what American ladies of the 19th and early 20th centuries may have considered proper etiquette and practical application to conduct themselves and their households. The good doctor’s lengthy bibliography includes a number of Texas sources tucked into her wide-ranging list. Texas ladies of the time would have sought national sources as well as local.


Matters of grooming, social comportment, courtship, domestic relations, motherhood, health care, interior and grounds maintenance, cooking, dancing, bicycling, special affairs, mourning and points between are considered. Begin with bits from a diverse collection American sources (Fanny Farmer, Godey’s, Ladies Repository, Harper’s etc.), sift that large collection for what is appropriate for early Texas life, and sprinkle in over three dozen pieces of Texana.


By email to WTM Padgett relates ““Since all the material was originally published during the relatively brief span of history between the end of the Civil War and around the beginning of the 20th century, the daily advice pertinent for the featured states (MA, OH, AL, TX, CO) essentially offers a snapshot of America's ‘Westward Movement.’ Life in Massachusetts during that sliver of time was very different from life in Texas or Colorado! Thus, the Massachusetts book offers advice for dealing with one's servants, setting the table for formal dinners, and the intricacies of navigating sophisticated society; while the Texas and Colorado books include advice on selecting the most effective treatment for snake bites and gunpowder burns, dealing with one's farm animals, and locating the sites for the ‘geographical cures’ afforded by the western climate.”


The volume consists of quotations, extracts, advertisements, advice via correspondence, travelogues, and medical instructions. Padgett’s favorite Texan source is The Capitol Cookbook (1899). But she also plays to the popular crowd with Amelia Barr and O. Henry. Proper deference is paid by including items from the First Baptist Church Cookbook (Amarillo, 1909) and the First Texas Cookbook (Houston, Ladies, First Presbyterian, 1883). Padgett presents it all in the air of quaint nostalgia – from beef jerky to jerky guests. It being unseemly to become too publicly enthused, this reviewer simply records many pleasant visits there within the pages. You’re invited to the hearth for inspiration, edification, diversion, amusement, and tea.

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