Penn Library

HOUSEHOLD WORDS: Women Write from and for the Kitchen

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The Compleat Housewife or Accomplish'd Gentlewoman's Companion
by Eliza Smith
London: Printed for R. Ware, S. Birt, T. Longman, C. Hitch, J. Hodges [and 4 others], 1750

Frontispiece and title page

This work by Eliza Smith, originally published in 1727 in London, has the distinction of being the first cookery book printed in America by the printer William Parks, who came from Shropshire, England. Though not written here, nor making use of American resources, Parks first printed and published this work in 1742 in Williamsburg, Virginia. The first edition of The Compleat Housewife was published under the initials "E. S." Smith identified herself only as a woman who had been "constantly employed in fashionable and noble Families . . . for the Space of thirty Years and upwards . . . ."

In England, Smith's work was directed to the gentlewoman and the eighteenth-century urban housewife whose need "to maintain the family and provide guidance for publlick spirited women" reflect the growing trend to write for a widening audience composed of women from different classes.

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