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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Living Within Your Means, Advice from 1870

"Aunt Sophronia" explains to some newly married young women how to live within their means:
"...I will give you the rules, which are few and simple, and easily performed by self-sacrifice. Work hard; see and improve all small opportunities; keep out of debt and carefully economize. That is the best that all the wisdom of the world has been able to digest and formulate as rules for getting rich. The matter is simple and lies in a nutshell: have the end definitely before you; do your own work toward it and do it honestly, and don't give up until you have reached your goal; the same plain, straight, unadorned and yet passable road is open to all."
Aunt Sophronia is a character from an old book formerly belonging to my great-grandmother.  The full title is:
The Complete Home, An Encyclopaedia of Domestic Life and Affairs Embracing All the Interests of The Household, by Julia McNair.

Wright is one of my favorite Domestic Treasures. Mrs. Wright wrote to help impoverished families economize during the depression of the 1870's. She writes in the first person in the character of a delightful old gentlewoman named Aunt Sophronia. Aunt Sophronia has three nieces of her own whom she is guiding, and she is aunt by courtesy title to most of the young people in town.

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