Hints to Housekeepers
Suggestions by Stanton Woman's Relief Corps, Los Angeles 1907
Founded in 1879 in New England, The Woman’s Relief Corps became the official female auxiliary for the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R) - a fraternal group established to advocate for Union veterans of the Civil War.
The Woman’s Relief Corp grew to have chapters across the US with female members who had been loyal to the Union. Many, though not all, were wives of Union Soldiers - this included both white and African American women. However, a direct relationship to a soldier was not a prerequisite for membership.
The Pasadena History Museum notes:
“The W.R.C. wanted it remembered that women had contributed to the war effort, and the group made an effort to mark the graves of nurses (as well as those of soldiers) on Memorial Day… They raised money through dues, fundraisers, benefit events, and donations. One of the things they did as a fundraiser was to make quilts. This could be done in a variety of ways, but the simplest was to request a donation for each square of the quilt. The final product would be stitched and assembled by a group of the W.R.C. women. Here in Pasadena, their “Thimble Club” would gather at the home of one of their members and work on these projects”
The Stanton Relief Corp who created this book, Hints To Housekeepers, is assumed to have been the auxiliary to “Stanton Post No. 55” of the G.A.R. in Los Angeles, and the publication was likely a fundraising tool. The book includes a litany of domestic tips, including “cheap and effective disinfectant,” the proper care for lamp wicks, and how to tell the difference between butter and oleomargarine, as well as a detailed section on “What to do till the Doctor comes, Home Remedies.” In addition, the second half of the book deals with proper nutrition and provides many recipes for breads, soups, fish, entree salads, and desserts. The back page features a full-page advertisement for The Vegetarian Cafe that served “daily nearly One Thousand Los Angeles busy business people,” in Downtown LA.
The W.R.C. still exists in a diminished form today, though all Union veterans are of course long gone. The group offers scholarships for college undergraduates.
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