Cultivating an Environment at Home

Dorothy Wordsworth played an essential role in running the William Wordsworth household, both before and after William’s marriage to Mary Hutchinson. Dorothy preserved details of the family’s home life and her role in it through her comprehensive and earnest journals. Indeed, at some moments in history, her contributions to home have been celebrated more than her own literary efforts, as demonstrated in Happy Women (1913). In addition to including descriptions of her daily life and relationships, her journal entries (especially from her time at Town End, Grasmere, 1799–1803) show how deeply Dorothy enjoyed both exploring the nearby landscape and working on her gardens and other household improvements. These themes come through in modern works of appreciation such as “Romantic Food at Dove Cottage: Dorothy’s Cookery and Kitchen Garden.” Engaging with the environment in and around her home facilitates a holistic appreciation for Dorothy Wordsworth. Rydal Mount, pictured in the Abraham Series postcards, was her longest and final residence (1813–1855).

Myrtle Reed, “Dorothy Wordsworth,” in Happy Women, 1913
Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, 1897
Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth, 1970 reprint edition
Nesta Clutterbuck, Dove Cottage: a Short Guide to the Home of William Wordsworth, 1799-1808, 1974(?)
Anna Rudelli, “Romantic Food at Dove Cottage: Dorothy Wordsworth’s Cookery and Kitchen Garden,” 2017
Abraham Series postcards, “Rydal Mount” and “Wordsworth's Grave/Grasmere,” c. 1900

This display case assembled by Chelsey Clay, Erika Free, and Kristina Isaak.