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Cleanliness

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					Cleanliness
   Bathing
► An upper-class
 woman in 1799 tells
 her journal, “I am
 gathering the
 courage to try the
 family shower,”
 although they have
 owned it for over a
 year.
               Washing
► In Essex County,
  MA, not a single
  record of a
  washstand has been
  found before 1763.
► By 1850, the basin,
  pitcher, and
  washstand are
  standard fixtures in
  a middle-class
  bedroom.
Trash
  ►From  throwing
   household trash
   out the window,
   people began
   depositing it in
   hidden pits in
   the yard.
            Civilization
► Early nineteenth
 century medical
 wisdom: “The more
 a country is
 civilized, the more
 they consult this
 part of politeness”—
 cleanliness.
         American obsession
► “It were better to wash twenty times a day,
  than to allow a dirty spot to remain on any
  part of the skin” 1840s
► “he who neglects his person and dress will
  be found lower in the scale of morals, other
  things being equal, than he who pays due
  regard to cleanliness” 1830s
► Cleanliness“is an emblem, if not a
 characteristic, of purity of thought and
 propriety of conduct” 1844
“Could I restore thee what
 thou hast lost; efface this
       cursed stain;
  --Pleyel to Clara when he believes
             she is “fallen.”
  1776 Maryland Gazette

►“the   foulness of the teeth by some
 people is little regarded; but with
 the fair sex, with the polite and
 elegant part of the world, it is
 looked on as a certain marl of
 filthiness and sloth.”
►The  “mouth with
 teeth” was
 invented in the
 early 1800s.
 Attention to the
 care of teeth
 grew; dentistry
 became a
 profession.
►From   1800-
 1860
►Hand-made
 toothbrushes to
 manufactured.
      Booker T. Washington
   The Gospel of the Toothbrush
►“there   are few
 single agencies
 of civilization
 that are more
 far-reaching.”
►All students at Tuskegee after the
 Civil War were required at least to
 own a toothbrush.
►Its use brings about “absolute
 cleanliness of the body” and
 individualized discipline.
►   Slaves at auction:
    the slave dealer     Servants
    “grasp[s] at the
    man’s arms, as if to
    feel their muscular
    capacity. He then
    examined his hands
    and fingers; and, last
    of all, told him to
    open his mouth and
    show his teeth,
    which he did in a
    submissive manner.”
                Slave auction
► Prospective  buyers take turns “feeling their
  arms, looking into their mouths, and
  investigating the quality of their hands and
  fingers.”
► The male slave is made to undress while
  buyers scrutinize his skin and hands and
  “every tooth in his head [is] scrupulously
  looked at.”
► Dr.Wolfe: Lisa,
 Marge, these
 braces are
 invisible,
 painless, and
 periodically
 release a
 delightful burst
 of Calvin Klein's
 "Obsession--for
 Teeth."
►    The teeth! --the teeth! --they
    were here, and there, and
    everywhere, and visibly and
    palpably before me; long,
    narrow, and excessively white,
    with the pale lips writhing about
    them, as in the very moment of
    their first terrible development.
►   The forehead was high, and very pale, and singularly
    placid; and the once jetty hair fell partially over it, and
    overshadowed the hollow temples with innumerable
    ringlets now of a vivid yellow, and Jarring discordantly, in
    their fantastic character, with the reigning melancholy of
    the countenance. The eyes were lifeless, and lustreless,
    and seemingly pupil-less, and I shrank involuntarily from
    their glassy stare to the contemplation of the thin and
    shrunken lips. They parted; and in a smile of peculiar
    meaning, the teeth of the changed Berenice disclosed
    themselves slowly to my view.
►    Few deductions, if any, were made; and
    those few pertinaciously returning in upon
    the original object as a centre. The
    meditations were never pleasurable; and, at
    the termination of the reverie, the first
    cause, so far from being out of sight, had
    attained that supernaturally exaggerated
    interest which was the prevailing feature of
    the disease.

				
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posted:11/2/2011
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