Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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The term “housewife” refers to the house or household as the central unit of social life in European countries. In early modern sources, the word is generally synonymous with house mother (Mater familias). Depending on the context, housewife denotes either the wife (marriage, when the family situation is in view) or the manager of the household (when the focus is on economic activity), with many rights and obligations in her capacity as house mother; she could be represented by a bourgeois housekeeper or a noble housema’am. From the late-18th century on, the term “housewife” (Hausfrau…

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Ulbrich, Claudia and Lehmann, Frank, “Housewife”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 30 November 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_020708>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180915

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