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“A compendium of valuable information for women” so describes the title page of the 1890 book The Mother’s Guide and Daughter’s Friend.

It’s true, this book covers just about anything a woman of the late 1800s might need to know.

In the 1920s, national newspapers and magazines reported extensively on the sexual escapades of high school and college students.

Before hooking up, there was “petting,” and everyone was doing it.

In the 1940s and ’50s, Alfred Kinsey defined petting as “deliberately touching body parts above or below the waist” (thus distinguishing it from “necking,” or general body contact sustained while making out).

In terms of the baseball metaphor, petting covered everything between first base and home plate., the most prestigious magazines in America, regularly included features on “These Wild Young People” written by “one of them.”At least one audience was guaranteed to take an interest: the petters’ parents.

These parents did not have to exercise the kind of severe discipline that had been needed to keep order in households of nine or ten.

Parents lavished affection on children and sought to help them flourish by discovering and developing their interests.

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Thanks to increased access to birth control, couples in the professional and managerial classes were stopping after their second or third kid.

Does your husband love to see things in order, then be careful and keep the house in good shape.

Does he love a good dinner, then study your cook book and study his tastes.

Miss Abigail has a collection of over 1,000 classic advice books, spanning from 1822 to 1978 and covering a variety of topics, from love and romance to etiquette and charm.

The collection sparked the idea for this site, then a book, Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage, which has inspired an Off-Broadway production of the same name!

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