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Women, Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1830s-1900sThe Victorian Period$
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Alexis Easley, Clare Gill, and Beth Rodgers

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474433907

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474433907.001.0001

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Regulating Servants in Victorian Women’s Print Media

Regulating Servants in Victorian Women’s Print Media

(p.32) 2 Regulating Servants in Victorian Women’s Print Media
Women, Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1830s-1900s

Kathryn Ledbetter

Edinburgh University Press

In this chapter, Kathryn Ledbetter considers some of the ‘invisible’ figures that were at the heart of domestic magazines. If, as Beetham notes, domestic magazines often elided the presence of the servant in the middle-class home, Ledbetter’s essay addresses this lacuna head on. Although a topic ripe for satire by the likes of Punch, ‘women’s periodicals and household manuals rarely made light of the responsibilities involved in proper service’ (33). Part of being a successful middle-class woman, these publications maintained, was the effective regulation of servants, who without such monitoring might succumb to immorality and poor working habits. Indeed, Ledbetter notes that a ‘common response in women’s periodicals was that bad mistresses made bad servants’ (34). Yet what did servants make of such discussions of their lives in these magazines or in the servants’ magazines that more directly targeted them?

Keywords:   Servants, domestic magazines, women’s periodicals, social class, domestic management

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