William Andrus Alcott. The Young Woman's Guide. Boston: 1840. G365 A355 Y845.



Pp. 98-99 Under this head I will just add, that since by modesty the weaker govern the stronger, it is of immense importance that woman should know the true secret of maintaining her power; and also by what means she is likely to jeopardize that power. And without undertaking to determine what means she is likely to jeopardize that power. And without undertaking to determine what shall be the precise rules of female action, and the precise limits of the sphere within which the Author of her nature designed she should move, is it not worth serious inquiry, whether she does not, as a general fact, lose influence the moment she departs widely from the province which God in nature seems to have allotted her; when, like a Woolstoncroft, or a Wright, or others still of less painful notoriety, she mounts the rostrum, and becomes the centre of gaping, perhaps admiring thousands of the other sex, as well as her own. So did not the excellent women of Galilee, eighteen hundred years ago; although they were engaged, heart and hand, in a cause than which none could be more glorious, or afford a greater triumph, especially to their own sex. They probably knew too well their power to endanger it thus in the general scale; or if not, they probably yielded to the impulses of a spirit which could direct them in a path more congenial to their own nature, as well as on the whole more conducive to their own emancipation, elevation and perfection.

Invention w/in Sphere

Pp. 154-155 When I speak of the appropriate sphere of woman, and of her taxing her powers of invention there, I would by no means indulge myself in any narrow or circumscribed views in regard to her field of operation. I should have no sort of objection to the application of her inventive powers to the work of facilitating the usual labors of the other sex - particularly in the departments of agriculture an horticulture. But I do not perceive any necessity for this. I believe there is work enough - profitable and philanthropic work, too - to task woman's powers of invention for many centuries, without her going out of her appropriate sphere. In the art of cookery especially which certainly has a great deal to do with physical education and physical improvement - there is great room for the exercise of her inventive powers. This important art is, as yet, entirely in its infancy; and where any progress has been made, it has been chiefly in a wrong direction, and under the guidance of wrong principles. Be it yours, young women, to give this matter a right direction, and to bring it to bear as efficiently on the happiness of mankind,as it has hitherto on their slow destruction.


Pp. 175-176 But, lastly, young women should love domestic life, and the care and society of the young, because it is, without doubt, the intention of Divine Providence that they should do so; and because home, and the concerns of home, afford the best opportunities and means of moral improvement.

The prerogative of woman- the peculiar province which God in nature has assigned her- has been already alluded to with sufficient distinctness. Let every reader, then, follow out the hint, and ask herself whether it is not important that she should love the place and circumstances thus assigned her; and whether she who hates them, is likely to derive from them the great moral lessons they are eminently designed to inculcate.

Is it asked what moral lessons, so mightily important, can be learned in the nursery and in the kitchen? In return, I may ask, what lessons of instruction are there which may not be learned there, and what moral virtues may not there be cultivated? Each family is a world in miniature; and all the necessary trials of the temper and of the character, are usually found within its circle.


Pp. 262-263 What I believe, is this. That in falling, with our first parents, we fall physically as well as morally; and that our physical departure from truth is almost as wide as our moral. I suppose all the ugliness of the young - not, of course, all their variety of feature or complexion, but all which constitutes real ugliness of appearance - comes directly or indirectly from the transgression of God's laws, natural or moral; and can only be restored by obedience to those laws by the transgression of which it came.

Fashion Expense

Pp. 292-293 That many young women, who read this chapter, will wholly lay aside their ornaments, and fit themselves, as fast as possible, for the noble purpose of ornamenting those around them, by promoting their physical, intellectual and moral well being, can hardly be expected. But I do hope that I shall lead a few to expend less of time and money in dressing and ornamenting their persons than heretofore, and more in dressing and ornamenting the immortal mind, as well as more in promoting health of body.

I cannot but hope to live to see the day, when every person who professes the name of Jesus Christ, and not a few who make no professions at all, will entertain similar views in regard to the purposes of dress and their own duty in relation to it, to those which I have endeavored to inculcate. Such a day must surely come sooner or later; and I hope that those who believe this, will make it their great rule to expend as little on themselves as possible, and yet answer the true intentions of the Creator respecting themselves.

Intellectual Improvement

P. 311 The long agitated question, whether woman is or is not equal to man in capacity for intellectual improvement, need not, surely, be discussed in this place. It is sufficient, perhaps, to know that every young woman is capable of a much higher degree of improvement than she has yet attained, and to urge her forward to do all she can for herself, and to do it with all her might.

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