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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Farm, Field and Fireside

A subject guide for use with the Farm, Field and Fireside collection of farm newspapers and periodicals.


"Since physicians were often inaccessible to country folk, readers of the farm papers, particularly mothers, were vitally interested in home remedies and 'health reform.' Articles on diet, hygiene, exercise, and the like, as well as 'cures' for every conceivable ailment were published"

The kinds of documents you will find include, but are not limited to:

Search Strategies

"Health and hygiene" is a broad topic, and one of considerable interest to the editors of the farm weeklies. If you want to research this topic, and don't know where to begin, try one of these strategies:

1. Begin browsing in Farmer's Wife. All of the farm journals include some health and wellness coverage, but Farmer's Wife is especially rich in this material.

2. Look at our Health and Hygiene Supplementary Guide, where you'll find more information on some of the topics that appear most frequently in the farm journals.

3. Begin by browsing through household management manuals of the period. In these works you'll learn what "health and hygiene" topics were of special concern to the contemporary housewife, and also discover vocabulary you can use in Farm, Field, and Fireside. Here is a brief listing of some manuals available here at the University of Illinois (organized by publication date):

Storke, E.G. The Family and Householder's Guide, or, How to Keep House, How to Provide, How to Cook, How to Wash, How to Dye, How to Paint, How to Preserve Health, How to Cure Disease, etc. : A Manual of Household Management from the Latest Authorities. Auburn, N.Y.: Auburn Publishing, 1859.

Newman, John B. The Home Doctor, or, Family Manual: Giving the Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments of Diseases: with an Account of the System While in Health, and Rules for Preserving that State. Stratford: Vivian and Company, 1864.

Sedgwick, Parker, and S.P. Sedgwick. The House We Live In: How to Keep It in Order, or, The Experience of Seventy Years' Successful Practice in the Medical Profession, East and West, in Plain English for the People. Chicago: Church, Goodman and Donnelley, 1869.

Murray, Ross. The Modern Householder: a Manual of Domestic Economy in all its Branches. New York: Scribner, Welford, and Armstrong, 1872.

Beecher, Catherine E., and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The New Housekeeper's Manual: Embracing a New Revised Edition of The American Woman's Home, or Principles of Domestic Science: Being a Guide to Economical, Healthful, Beautiful, and Christian Homes, Together with The Handy Cook-Book: A Complete Condensed Guide to Wholesome, Economical, and Delicious Cooking. New York: J.B. Ford and Company, 1873.

Smith, Edward. Health: A Handbook for Households and Schools. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1875.

Kellogg, J.H. A Household Manual of Hygiene, Food and Diet, Common Diseases, Accidents and Emergencies, and Useful Hints and Recipes. Battle Creek, Mich.: Office of the Health Reformer, 1878.

Teale, T. Pridgin. Dangers to Health: A Pictorial Guide to Domestic Sanitary Defects. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1883.

Halseys' Homœopathic Guide: For Families, Travelers, Missionaries, Pioneers, Miners, Farmers, Stock Raisers, Horse Owners, Dog Fanciers, Poultry Keepers. Chicago: C.S. & George E. Halsey, 1885.

Kellogg, J.H. The Home Hand-book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Rev. and enlarged ed. New York: Modern Medicine Publishing, 1896.

Jefferis, B.G., and J. L. Nichols. The Household Guide, or Domestic Cyclopedia: A Practical Family Physician: Home Remedies, and Home Treatment on All Diseases: An Instructor on Nursing, Housekeeping, and Home Adornments: Also a Complete Cook Book. Atlanta, GA: J.L. Nichols Company, 1900.

Forest, W.E. The New Method in Health Culture: a Guide to Home Treatment of the Sick. 15th Ed. New York: Health Culture Company, 1901.

Dodd, Helen. The Healthful Farmhouse by a Farmer's Wife. Boston: Whitcomb and Barrows, 1911.

Aikens, Charlotte A. The Home Nurse's Handbook of Practical Nursing: A Manual for Use in Home Nursing Classes in Young Women's Christian Associations, in Schools for Girls and Young Women, and a Working Text-Book for Mothers, 'Practical' Nurses, Trained Attendants, and All Who Have the Responsibility of the Home Care of the Sick. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1913. 5 editions: 1913-1931.

Pope, Amy Elizabeth. Essentials of Dietetics in Health and Disease: A Book for Nurses and a Practical Dietary Guide for the Household. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1931.

Rossman, I.J., and Doris R. Schwartz. The Family Handbook of Home Nursing and Medical Care. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1958.

Further Reading

Paulson, George W. "Science and Technology, Health and Medicine." The American Midwest: an Interpretive Encyclopedia. Eds. Richard Sisson, Christian Zacher, and Andrew Cayton. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana UP, 2007. 1443-1538.