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Domestic Arrangements 1.1


The Archer house is large but no larger than other homes I’ve seen in comparable Midwestern towns. Imaging these clients is the merest tip of a sociological iceberg, however, because it opens a door to the whole range of Edwardian domestic life. An entire family profile is needed–and so much more.

In the upper right (northeast corner) of this first floor plan, for example, is a room. Will I be able to delineate its occupant–a maid–without resorting to the defaults of ethnicity, intellect and aspiration? Was her work (yes, she had to have been a “she”) difficult? Did the Archers appreciate her efforts? Did she and her family write often? How did her friendships develop? And, on Saturday night, after six long days of laundry and linens, dusting and dishes, did she walk with her beau to a concert at The Commons and an ice cream later at Van Kannel’s? I’m curious.


More will follow in the next day or two.


  1. […] three earlier entries (#1, #2 and #3, back in 2011, I was surprised to note) we’ve tried to interpret just one example of […]

  2. […] DA 1.1 included a better scaled ground floor plan of the Archer’s house, but it was also a rumination on how to interpret such an artifact: Sure, the Archer family lived there, but I wondered if a small room at the northeast corner of the house—the sort that would have been set aside for a live-in domestic—offers another view of domestic arrangements a century ago. […]

  3. […] 1.1 was a scaled drawing of the first floor. But rather than focus on the suite of rooms for living and […]

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