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This paper details the experience of Irish servants and servants of Irish-descent in late nineteenth-century Bloomington who were employed in the middle-class house on Clover Lawn (the David Davis Mansion). The house on Clover Lawn was divided into three regions: public, private, and the servant quarters. The back of the house was reserved for the servants’ living and working areas. The division between front-of-the-house, back-of-the-house is the American equivalent of the British “upstairs-downstairs” arrangement. The body of letters written between Sarah Davis and her family are a wealth of information on their servants, including their personalities, their duties, and her interactions with them. 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.



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