Archival Housekeeping

Man hoovering

Add housekeeping to the list of archival chores I’d rather perform in the past. Not only do the tasks look simpler (limited activity, fixed locations), they seem to require a heightened, more thoughtful level of dress and grooming. Of course, I’d advocate for an individualized chore uniform. Aprons or multi-pocketed work jackets add a traditional, protective layer. But I’d extend my outfit to include sturdy lace-up shoes, a nice wool waistcoat and a more archival (washable, reusable) version of the 19th century printers’ oversleeve in cotton poplin.

Sew your own oversleeves

For a practical manual on housekeeping in the past and present, see: Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Housekeeping by Cheryl Mendelson.

Trouser press

Shaking out the rugs

Dusting the television with a feather brush

A footballer preparing a meal

Wringer and centrifuge

A pile of washing-up

A brush salesman and his bicycle

Photographs from the Nationaal Archief flickr photo set: Huishouden/Housekeeping.

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