Lessons

Progressivism in the Home, by Richard R. Schramm

From the 1890s through the 1920s, Progressivism manifested itself in a variety of ways from cleaning up slums to eliminating government corruption to Americanizing immigrants to standardizing industrial practices. Such initiatives often sought to improve life by applying insights derived from the newly emerging social sciences—disciplines like sociology, psychology, economics, and statistics. When applied to housework, this scientific strand of Progressivism not only promoted efficiency in such tasks as washing dishes and cleaning but also encouraged women to think of themselves in a new way, not simply as homemakers but as professionals skilled in the science of home management.