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Catherine Beecher

(September 6, 1800 - May 12, 1878)

Catherine Beecher was a member of a famous and influential family in New England. Her father was the minister and temperance activist Lyman Beecher, her sister was writer Harriet Beecher Stowe and her brother was minister Henry Ward Beecher. As a school teacher she was a pioneer home economist, and encouraged domestic science and teaching curriculum for young women. She founded the Hartford Female Seminary in 1823, the Western Female Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1832, and encouraged the founding of more teachers' colleges for women.

It was her writing that had the most influence though, including Female Education (1827), A Treatise on Domestic Economy (1841), and Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book (1846) among others.

Most cookbooks of the time were written in or influenced by England and the instructions and measurements were stated in general terms. Catherine attempted to correct these and other problems with Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book. In it she dealt with all areas of domestic arts, including cooking utensils and equipment, buying and storing food, baking, clearly written recipes, etc. She urged the housewife to “regard her duties as dignified, important, and difficult.”

 

 

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