Header image  
line decor
line decor


Nelly Custis Lewis's Housekeeping Book

Edited by Patricia Brady Schmit

176 recipes, remedies, and household hints from a Virginia plantation mistress and American icon

For more than thirty years George Washington's adopted daughter Nelly Custis Lewis was the mistress of Woodlawn, a large and elegant Virginia plantation. As such households were virtually self-sufficient enterprises, recipes for cleaners, home remedies, and the care and dying of clothing were as essential as recipes used in the preparation of huge and varied meals. Like many southern ladies, Lewis kept a handwritten housekeeping book in which she jotted down these instructions.

Nelly Custis Lewis's Housekeeping Book reconstructs 176 of Lewis's original recipes and provides a wealth of information on nineteenth-century techniques for housekeeping, cooking, and medical practice. From making cabbage pudding to polishing furniture, treating scurvy to eliminating room odors, Lewis's book documents what was essential and practical knowledge for a plantation mistress in the 1830s. The volume is augmented by the editor's introduction and a glossary of terms.

Patricia Brady Schmit, as Patricia Brady, is author of Martha Washington: An American Life and editor of George Washington's Beautiful Nelly: The Letters of Eleanor Parke Custis to Elizabeth Bordley Gibson, 1794–1851.



book jacket for Nelly Custis Lewis's Housekeeping Book


6 x 9
142 pages
ISBN 978-0-917860-09-6
hardcover, $19.95s

Distributed for the Historic New Orleans Collection

    Copyright ©2018 The University of South Carolina Press