Maids in Calabria

As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
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Maids in Calabria

Postby dominique426 » 14 Aug 2013, 22:10

I was wondering if anyone had any information on what it was like to be a maid or female servant during the early 1900s. My 3rd great grandmother was a maid in Calabria as a young teenager (about 12/13 to 18). She worked in the Cosenza area for a wealthy family.
FAMILY SURNAMES: Sessa, Apuzzo, Merenda, Fisicaro, Bloise, Esposito, Costanzo, Ferrigno, Letiziano, Tomasetta, Covollo, Lerardi, Ferrigno, Barbella, Capparelli
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Re: Maids in Calabria

Postby Tessa78 » 15 Aug 2013, 19:01

dominique426 wrote:I was wondering if anyone had any information on what it was like to be a maid or female servant during the early 1900s. My 3rd great grandmother was a maid in Calabria as a young teenager (about 12/13 to 18). She worked in the Cosenza area for a wealthy family.



Here is an interesting article from 1879 about a servant to a wealthy family in Italy...
May not be the situation your GGM was in, but it gives an interesting point of view.
http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-fr ... 5F4D8784F9

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Re: Maids in Calabria

Postby dominique426 » 16 Aug 2013, 08:07

Tessa78 wrote:
dominique426 wrote:I was wondering if anyone had any information on what it was like to be a maid or female servant during the early 1900s. My 3rd great grandmother was a maid in Calabria as a young teenager (about 12/13 to 18). She worked in the Cosenza area for a wealthy family.



Here is an interesting article from 1879 about a servant to a wealthy family in Italy...
May not be the situation your GGM was in, but it gives an interesting point of view.
http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-fr ... 5F4D8784F9

T.


Thank you, Tessa! I'm reading it now.
FAMILY SURNAMES: Sessa, Apuzzo, Merenda, Fisicaro, Bloise, Esposito, Costanzo, Ferrigno, Letiziano, Tomasetta, Covollo, Lerardi, Ferrigno, Barbella, Capparelli
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Re: Maids in Calabria

Postby dominique426 » 16 Aug 2013, 08:14

I had always gotten the impression from what was passed down through the family was that the young women, who were maids in the Cosenza area of Calabria especially the girls from villages, were easily preyed on by the wealthy men of the home. I was also told that the maids were kept well because there tended to be a mistress type of relationship going on and there were quite a few *illegitimate* children being born to these maids from their male employers.

Of course, this might just reflect what my ggg-mom saw. I've always been interested in what life was like back then for her... I try to read as much as I can on the subject.
FAMILY SURNAMES: Sessa, Apuzzo, Merenda, Fisicaro, Bloise, Esposito, Costanzo, Ferrigno, Letiziano, Tomasetta, Covollo, Lerardi, Ferrigno, Barbella, Capparelli
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Re: Maids in Calabria

Postby Tessa78 » 23 Aug 2013, 16:51

dominique426 wrote:I had always gotten the impression from what was passed down through the family was that the young women, who were maids in the Cosenza area of Calabria especially the girls from villages, were easily preyed on by the wealthy men of the home. I was also told that the maids were kept well because there tended to be a mistress type of relationship going on and there were quite a few *illegitimate* children being born to these maids from their male employers.

Of course, this might just reflect what my ggg-mom saw. I've always been interested in what life was like back then for her... I try to read as much as I can on the subject.


There were certainly many illegitmate births and many were the result of the circumstances you describe.

If you are interested in reading more about the conditions for women in Italy I can suggest two titles for you to consider. They do not deal with the specific topic of maids/servants, but they bring a particular view of the plight of women.

Sacrificed for Honor - Italian Infant Abandonment and the Politics of Reproductive Control by David Kertzer

Women of the Shadows - Wives and Mothers of Southern Italy
by Ann Cornelisen

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