I was led to these illustrations when I was reading Donna Seger’s wonderful blog Streets of Salem. I think they’re fascinating.
Supposedly created by “A Lady”, and published in 1830 by the Kellogg Brothers of Hartford, Connecticut, they are beautifully drawn, and very much reflect the times in terms of the social perceptions of men and women.
Apparently, the idealised view of “True Womanhood” was very much promoted to middle-class women at the time. Historian Barbara Welter wrote, “The attributes of True Womanhood, by which a woman judged herself and was judged by her husband, her neighbors, and her society, could be divided into four cardinal virtues—piety, purity, submissiveness, and domesticity. … Without them … all was ashes. With them she was promised happiness and power.” 1
I’m intrigued by the outer edges – the “Country of Eligibleness”, and opposite, “The Land of Oblivion”…! (Click to enlarge)
The man’s heart here seems mainly dominated by money, power and “The Dread of Matrimony”
You can see these, and other wonderful lithographs, at the online gallery of the Connecticut Historical Society and Museum.
1. Welter, Barbara. “The Cult of True Womanhood.” American Quarterly 18:2, Part I (Summer 1966), pp. 151-174.