The Perfect Home Part 3
A Comparison between American and Italian Homes
Part 3 of a 1927 magazine article on The Perfect Home
THE LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL has played an extremely important part in this betterment for more than a generation and will continue to do so on an increasingly elaborate scale in the future. Of the influence already exerted by this magazine, Mark Sullivan says in his book. Our Times, that THE LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL and its editor, Edward Bok, rendered a greater service to American women and to the American home than any other notable force in a generation. During the past forty years THE JOURNAL has published the equivalent of an extensive library on the one subject of better home building and better home furnishing alone.
THE carpingest of critics are forever bewailing the fact that our homes are becoming hopelessly standardized through the very improvements that have added vastly to their comfort and which are constantly lightening the rigors of housekeeping. Home cooking is said to be deteriorating in the same degree that the behavior of our children has become a scandal. Vast numbers of wives cook out of cans and bottles, whereas their mothers spent hours over coal ranges baking bread, brewing soups and broths and fabricating mountains of pastry. These same critics admit that the greater number of these earlier housekeepers were rather desolate drudges but add that they were better occupied as drudges than are the housewives of today who divide their time between slaving for women’s clubs and going to the movies. The carping critic, however, is perpetually out of focus on what makes for progress and happiness.
The American home, on the average, is an enormous improvement over what it was even so late as the nineties, and this improvement shows no symptoms of diminution.
The tabloid flat of the great cities is infinitely removed from perfection save as a parking place for childless couples who employ it exclusively for sleeping purposes; but for the younger generation who set up housekeeping in its narrow quarters it should prove a great stimulus to move on to something better in the suburbs. Just at this time of the year, when the buds begin to swell, the dwellers in kitchenette flats are stirred with yearnings and discontent. They must move somewhere, to something more like a home. Their ideals lie somewhere between the Italian villa and its gardens and the half a twin house with its modern improvements. How marvelous if they could combine the virtues and eliminate the disadvantages of both! But move they must and move they will. In New York City alone one hundred thousand families move each year—and the great majority of these moves are in the direction of the perfect home. If these United States have no other one cause for national optimism, there is certainly one provided in the unassailable fact that as a nation our greatest of all drives is for better homes. So check this off in the “mad” month of March against all the croakers.
Source: The Ladies Home Journal, March 1927