Old fashioned newspaper advice on how to be good wife unearthed in new collection
Tips about how to keep your husband happy, which were a regular feature in a series of local newspapers published daily or weekly across Britain in the 1800s and early 1900s, have now been brought together in a set of articles unearthed by the British Newspaper Archive, a British Library project to preserve 40million pages from historical newspapers.
From the digitised newspaper pages, researchers have found what can only be considered offensive articles by modern standards, with advice for wives ranging from, 'Don't expect new dresses all the time', to warning them not to "mope and cry because you are ill - women should never be ill."
The Isle of Man Times told its female readers not to "argue with your husband; do whatever he tells you and obey all his orders" on October 12, 1895, the Daily Mail reported.
Other tips included not to worry him for money, not expect a new dress oftener than he offers to buy you one, not sit up till he comes home from the club - better be in bed and pretend to be asleep and if you are awake seem to be glad he came home early.
Another pearl of wisdom from the same 'Advice to wives' column was "don't answer back; don't spend money on yourself, don't do anything he doesn't want you to do. Then, if you are not a happy woman, your husband at least will be comfortable."
The Derby Daily Telegraph of March 7, 1932, carried a front page report headlined "Vicar's advice to wives", in which Dr W. M. Irwin, the vicar of Duffield, Derbyshire, said during a Mothering Sunday sermon that "Long faces and nagging did not get you your husband, and long faces and nagging will not keep them.'
The advice was often published alongside news stories about train crashes, crime stories and political scandals.
Since it takes two to make a successful marriage, the Bath Weekly Chronicle and Herald helpfully offered this advice to husbands in its edition of April 13, 1940 - "Do you still court your wife, bring her an occasional gift of flowers and remember her birthday and the wedding anniversary? Remember these and she will darn your socks."
According to Debra Chatfield, of the British Newspaper Archives, these outrageous advice columns seem funny now, but at that time such advice was taken quite seriously by those who read them.