“History Time”: The life of Irish domestics in turn-of-the-century Salem – Salem – Your Town – Boston.com
Here’s an interesting look back at Domestic Help in early America. The question at hand: Have we come a long way since then, or not?
Daily life in one turn-of-the century Salem household started earliest for Bridget, who rose by daybreak to start making breakfast for the rest of the staff. Delia and Caddy would wake soon after so that they could assist the Phillips family in getting ready for their day. Stephen Willard Phillips, the father of the house, would need to leave early to catch the train into Boston for work, and young Stephen would need to be at school on time. Following the morning rush, the kitchen was cleaned and daily chores began.Though the Phillips family “hired out for laundry,” Delia was in charge of washing the delicate table linens and arranging flowers. Caddy would usually help Anna Phillips, lady of the house, if she was entertaining members of one of the many clubs to which she belonged. The afternoons were filled with preparation for such entertaining, which occurred three to four times per week. For the staff, the evenings centered on greeting guests and, cooking and serving supper–often a five course affair–and cleaning up after.
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