"Marketing Morality: Church Cookbooks & Victorian American Domesticity" | Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
University of Pittsburgh

"Marketing Morality: Church Cookbooks & Victorian American Domesticity"

March 15, 2012 - 4:15pm - 5:15pm
Emily Bailey (PhD Student in Comparative Doctoral Program in Religion)

Women's Studies Program

The Victorian era in the United States saw significant changes in the social, domestic and religious roles of women.  This period, from shortly after the Civil War until the First World War, marked a shift for women from traditional middle-class female responsibilities to more domestically challenging ones.  This study examines late Victorian Protestant church community cookbooks as moral and cultural guides written by women for women, documenting the domestic roles and Christian practices of women in the years before and after the turn of the twentieth century.

It considers the influence of Protestant Christianity on expected female social roles and examines church community cookbooks as uniquely viable and valuable historical sources through which to better understand female Christian domestic practice in Victorian America.  Eleven American Protestant Christian cookbooks published from 1881 to 1913 serve as case studies, illustrating the late Victorian period through the advertisements selected by the women who wrote them.  I argue that advertisements from the texts offer information about the connections between gender, domesticity and religion during the era.


Emily Bailey’s work focuses on religion in America, gender in religion, religion and food studies, and domestic life and Protestant Christianity around the turn of the twentieth century. 

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