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March 08 , 2009

Cottage Economy


The American publication of Cottage Economy by Stephen Gould and Sons was basically a compilation of a series of pamphlets published by Cobbett in 1821 in England. Cobbett was an English political activist at a time when the industrial revolution was changing the face of rural Britain, and he was constantly concerned with improving the living conditions of the working classes. The book presents his philosophy that a laborer should be taught industry, sobriety, frugality, and “the duty of using his best exertions for the rearing of his family.”
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With practical instructions still relevant for those seeking self-reliance, Cobbett teaches the working classes of the 19th century the arts of brewing beer, keeping livestock, making bread, and “other matters deemed useful in conducting affairs of a labourer’s family.” Contents include “information relative to the brewing of beer, the making of bread, keeping of cows, pigs, bees, ewes, goats, poultry, and rabbits . . . to which are added instructions relative to the selecting, the cutting, and the bleaching of the plants of English grass and grain, for the purpose of making hats and bonnets.
This edition of Cottage Economy was reproduced by permission from the volume in the collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Founded in 1812 by Isaiah Thomas, a Revolutionary War patriot and successful printer and publisher, the Society is a research library documenting the life of Americans from the colonial era through 1876. The Society collects, preserves, and makes available as complete a record as possible of the printed materials from the early American experience. The cookbook collection includes approximately 1,100 volumes.
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