Ideal Surroundings: Domestic Life in a Working-Class Suburb in the 1920s

By Suzanne Morton

© 1995

The 1920s are seen by historians as a crucial period in the formation of the Canadian working class. In Ideal Surroundings, Suzanne Morton looks at a single working-class community as it responded to national and regional changes. Grounded in labour and feminist history, with a strong emphasis on domestic life, this analysis focuses on the relationship between gender ideals and the actual experience of different family members.
The setting is Richmond Heights, a working-class suburb of Halifax that was constructed following the 1917 explosion that devastated a large section of the city. The Halifax Relief Commission, specially formed to respond to this incident, generated a unique set of historical records that provides an unusually intimate glimpse of domestic life. Drawing on these and other archives, Morton uncovers many critical challenges to working-class ideals. The male world-view in particular were seriously destabilized as economic transformation and unemployment left many men without the means to support their families, and as the daughters of Richmond Heights increasingly left their class-defined jobs for service and clerical positions.
Drawing on recent theoretical and empirical work, Morton expertly combines interpretive and narrative material, creating a vivid portrayal of class dynamics in this critical postwar era. Her focus on the home and domesticity marks and innovative move towards the integration of gender in the study of Canadian history.
(Studies in Gender and History)
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Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 0.4in x 9.2in
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SKU# SP005637

  • PUBLISHED FEB 1995

    From: $21.71

    Regular Price: $28.95

    ISBN 9780802075758
  • PUBLISHED DEC 1995

    From: $21.71

    Regular Price: $28.95

Quick Overview

Suzanne Morton looks at a single working-class community as it responded to national and regional changes in the 1920s. Grounded in labour and feminist history, with a strong emphasis on domestic life, this analysis focuses on the relationship between gender ideals and the actual experience of different family members.

Ideal Surroundings: Domestic Life in a Working-Class Suburb in the 1920s

By Suzanne Morton

© 1995

The 1920s are seen by historians as a crucial period in the formation of the Canadian working class. In Ideal Surroundings, Suzanne Morton looks at a single working-class community as it responded to national and regional changes. Grounded in labour and feminist history, with a strong emphasis on domestic life, this analysis focuses on the relationship between gender ideals and the actual experience of different family members.
The setting is Richmond Heights, a working-class suburb of Halifax that was constructed following the 1917 explosion that devastated a large section of the city. The Halifax Relief Commission, specially formed to respond to this incident, generated a unique set of historical records that provides an unusually intimate glimpse of domestic life. Drawing on these and other archives, Morton uncovers many critical challenges to working-class ideals. The male world-view in particular were seriously destabilized as economic transformation and unemployment left many men without the means to support their families, and as the daughters of Richmond Heights increasingly left their class-defined jobs for service and clerical positions.
Drawing on recent theoretical and empirical work, Morton expertly combines interpretive and narrative material, creating a vivid portrayal of class dynamics in this critical postwar era. Her focus on the home and domesticity marks and innovative move towards the integration of gender in the study of Canadian history.
(Studies in Gender and History)
Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 216 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 0.4in x 9.2in
  • Author Information

    Suzanne Morton is a professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill University.

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