Document Type

Unpublished Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2012


This essay analyzes Edith and Milly’s Housekeeping (1866), written anonymously by Laura Valentine, a general editor for Frederick Warne & Company Publishing. The essay considers the book in the context of gender roles and class in Victorian England. Part of the “Aunt Louisa’s London Toy Books” collection, Edith and Milly’s Housekeeping reflects common nineteenth-century lessons for young girls in regards to housekeeping, morals, maturity, and class consciousness. The essay also suggests that the reason for the book’s failure to remain popular over centuries is that the notion of the doll’s house has been transformed in westernized countries from a tool to help young girls learn how to keep a house into a play toy with which girls are encouraged to use their strong imaginations and not restrict themselves to traditional notions of gender roles, including housekeeping.


A research paper completed for English 4710. This is an advanced undergraduate course focused on the study of a particular genre and its ability to articulate meaning in historical, social, and/or literary contexts. This paper is part of the Children's Literature genre series.