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Westphalian Nobleman Christian Franz Dietrich von Fürstenberg Provides Instructions on the Education of his Daughters (1743)

This text attests to one father’s apprehensions, which were doubtless shared by other aristocratic parents of his time. The author of this text, a Westphalian nobleman, wanted to ensure that his daughters acquired habits of industriousness and accepted the obligations of everyday life, without scorning such things as the sole preserve of commoners. In short, he wanted them to accustom themselves not only to the pleasures and privileges of upper-class life. The text offers a good picture of the skills that many aristocratic daughters were expected to acquire.

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On the Subject of the Mademoiselle and the Discipline of the Females
Facta revisione Thematum of the little Daughters

Discussion of how to set about with my daughters

So I begin, as I now wish to call to mind one of the useful exhortations recently given to my daughters, as I wish to make inquiries about everything and see how things will be arranged in the future, and how, after the children grow up, they will successively be granted more of their own will.

How children do not grow up and are not left to their own devices all of a sudden but gradually

According to what I had drafted on April 5, 1741, the older children are successively granted more of their own will, and as they grow older, and when they have reached and passed 20 years, they will be given more tea, coffee, chocolate, wine, and fruit. At the same time, though, one has to consider carefully that excesses of wine, coffee, and such beverages are harmful, even fatal, of which we have had examples in our family.

We were not born into this world for amusements and delights

Just as we were not born into this world for drinking coffee etc., since we humans must not consider that our happiness, our pleasure in this world lies in drinking coffee, in wine, in games, in company, in dancing, in luxuriance, in all sorts of festivities, in abandoning ourselves senselessly in affectation to such delights and probably also amusements, allowing ourselves to become bored without this very idleness, we also must not consider amusements, flights of fancy etc., as something more aristocratic, while despising a calm, quiet, secluded, industrious, never idle, and cheerful life in its essence as something bourgeois;

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