The Wylie women reflect contradictions between the maternal ideal, represented in women’s advice literature, and the complex realities of Midwestern, middle-class childbearing and childrearing in the late 19th century. The generational study and comparison of Elizabeth Louisa Wylie Boisen, Margaret Wylie Mellette, and Sarah Seabrook Mitchell Wylie examines the effect of social and economic factors on mothering experiences, revealing a shared struggle to uphold the expectations of 19th century women, especially when faced with individualized problems unaccounted for within maternal advice literature, such as widowhood, maternal illness, financial problems, and mothering on the frontier. For these women, the Wylie House represented a space of familial support when faced with the messy moments of mothering.
In celebration of mothers, the Three Wylie Women exhibit will be open through the month of May. For the exhibit, each room of the Wylie House features a different theme or aspect of the Wylie women's lives as mothers. Family letters, maternal advice literature of the period, photographs, and related artifacts are all on display.
Free to the public during regular tour hours, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Scheduled Outage: Ebook Central will be down Sat August 18, 12pm - 5pm and
ProQuest databases will be down Sat August 18, 10pm - 6am for planned maintenance.