Back in the
crappy olden days, making a home for your family was not considered drudge work. At least that’s the belief Meredith Publishing, publishers of BH&G books, were selling to women.
I am of two minds about this.
Better Homes and Gardens Decorating Book, Meredith Publishing Company, Des Moines, Iowa, 1961.
As person who truly believes there is value in homemaking– as there is in many activities– I like to think making a home for your family is not entirely drudge work. On the other hand, popular media shapes beliefs. Maybe the folks at Meredith thought the little women, who don’t forget pretty much ran the daily show until the men folk came back from WWII, were starting to get a little out of line at the beginning of the ’60s and needed to be reminded of their place. Who knows? That debate takes nothing from the fun we are going to have.
crappy old book is bound by five rings. Why? Is our Homemaker going to take pages out and carry them with her to the department store or paint shop? Is it the easiest way to do tab the chapters: It’s your home; Facts about color; Color & schemes; Furniture arrangement; etc? Perhaps it’s because men’s manuals were frequently in ring binders. Equality!
Please also note our Homemaker’s hair and attire. The Beatnik– in pants no less!– lounges like a kid in an informal plastic chair. Mrs. Little Black Dress is apparently the only one who lives an orderly life. The cozy cat is going to scratch that charming chair all to pieces. Decorate the way you live!
“Personalize your home with accessories” is chapter 9. If you’ve gotten through chapter four (above) and continued on through Backgrounds, Floors, Lighting, and Windows, and your home isn’t personalized yet, there is a problem.
Do you know how to group pictures the easy way? Would you put a fussy Victorian vase on a Colonial coffee table? These 30 pages show you how, when and where to use accessories.
I’m sure all of those things hanging on the walls give our Homemaker great joy. (That’s fake fire, by the way.)
The toxic among you will love what’s below the fold.
Isn’t that just awesome? A gun and trophies on the wall above the mantle.
“Be proud of Father’s trophies and collections. … Let the boys know how proud you are of their keepsakes.”
Crappy olden days.
I have a few issues with this “pleasing arrangement.” Where is the fire screen? Are those wood shelves? Those plants must be plastic, correct? How would you water the top one? And who puts a plant that close to a fire? Finally, are you mad? Putting books directly above a fireplace?
I agree with the claim. It’s about scale. But didn’t BH&G folks tell me in chapter 1 that it was my home? Now they’re telling me I’m doing it wrong?
All kidding aside, I do love these sorts of
crappy old books. They are very humbling. All you kids who are so cutting edge, now, today, in your face with your new fangled swanky decorations and accessories have no idea how ridiculous you’re going to look in 25 years. The only things funnier than the ’60s home decorating books are the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.
(’00s can’t yet be made fun of yet. But your day will come!)