Bridget Hill

Published in print June 1996 | ISBN: 9780198206217
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191677021 | DOI:

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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The importance of domestic service in the 18th century has long been recognized by historians but apart from a number of recent controversial articles, this is the first detailed study of the subject since J. Jean Hecht's book of 1956. Its chapter question the stereotype of the domestic servant — usually male and most often in large households employing many servants where a strict hierarchy prevailed — that has dominated all discussion hitherto. Using 18th-century diaries, journals, and memoirs as well as the press and literature of the period, the book examines the lives of the majority of domestic servants, who were employed in more modest establishments, or in single or two-servant households. The book looks at the life of the pauper apprentices to service, paid little or nothing for their efforts, and at the frequency with which both near and distant kin were employed as unpaid, or badly-paid, domestic servants. It also examines the vulnerability of female domestic servants to sexual harassment and discusses the sexuality of servants.

Keywords: domestic service; 18th century; large households; hierarchy; diaries; journals; memoirs; press; pauper apprentices; sexual harassment

Book.  286 pages. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Servants


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