Domestic Goods: The Material, the Moral, and the Economic in the Postwar Years

Joy Parr

Published by University of Toronto Press, 1999
ISBN 10: 0802040977 / ISBN 13: 9780802040978
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Synopsis: Visions of life in the fifties often spring from America: supermarkets, freeways, huge gleaming cars, pink washer dryers, automated households. For the first time historian Joy Parr searches behind the generalizations about the prodigality of this era to look for a specifically Canadian consumer life. Focusing on the records left by consumers and manufacturers, and relying on interviews and letters from many Canadian women who married in the decade after the war, she reveals exactly how and why Canadian homemakers distinguished themselves from the consumer frenzy of their southern neighbours. "Domestic Goods" is primarily concerned with furniture and appliances. For Parr, the problems of design, production and consumption demand an analysis of the intertwining of the political, economic and aesthetic. The international style of "high modernism" reflected the postwar dream of free trade. The desire for economic self-sufficiency influenced the creation of the tools Canadians would have in their homes. But while manufacturers devised new plans for the consumer, depression-era frugality, a conscious modesty, and their shared aspirations for a welfare state led those potential customers to evade and rework what was offered them, eventually influencing the kinds of goods created. This book addresses questions such as, Why were there advocado-coloured refrigerators? Why were stoves moved below waist level after the war? Why did women use their old hand wringers for over a decade after the automatic washer was brought in? In finding the answers the author celebrates and ultimately suggests reclaiming a particularly Canadian way of consuming.

About the Author: JOY PARR is a Farley Endowed Professor of History at Simon Fraser University. She is the author of The Gender of Breadwinners, winner of the 1990 Macdonald Prize for the best work in Canadian history.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Domestic Goods: The Material, the Moral, and...
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Publication Date: 1999
Book Condition: Good

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Joy Parr
Published by University of Toronto Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0802040977 ISBN 13: 9780802040978
Used Quantity Available: 1
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Better World Books
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Book Description University of Toronto Press, 1999. Book Condition: Very Good. Former Library book. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP96181554

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