Constructing the Past


This paper details the experience of Irish servants in late nineteenth-century Bloomington who were employed at Clover Lawn (the David Davis Mansion). The house on Clover Lawn was divided into three regions: public, private, and the servant quarters. The division between front-of-the-house, back-of-the-house is the American equivalent of the British “upstairs-downstairs” arrangement. This paper examines the connection between the design of the home and the established middle-class domestic system, the cultural and social differences between the servants and the Davis family, and the impact the Irish domestic servant population had on the growing Bloomington community, in order to gain a better overall understanding of the solidification of the middle-class.