The Grand Domestic Revolution:
A History of Feminist Designs for American Homes, Neighborhoods, and Cities 

NEA Exemplary Design Research Award

Vesta Award for Feminist Scholarship, Los Angeles 

Long before Betty Friedan wrote about "the problems that have no name" in The Feminine Mystique, a group of American feminists whose leaders included Melusina Fay Peirce, Mary Livermore, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman campaigned against women's isolation in the home and confinement to domestic life as the basic cause of their unequal position in society. The Grand Domestic Revolution reveals the innovative plans and visionary strategies of these persistent women, who developed the theory and practice of what Hayden calls "material feminism" in pursuit of economic independence and social equality. The material feminists' ambitious goals of socialized housework and child care meant revolutionizing the American home and creating community services. They raised fundamental questions about the relationship of men, women, and children in industrial society.

In reevaluating these early feminists’ plans for the environmental and economic transformation of American neighborhoods and in recording the vigorous and many-sided arguments that evolved around the issues they raised, Hayden brings to light basic economic and spatial contradictions which outdated forms of housing and inadequate community services still create for American women and for their families.

Reviews of the book:

This is a book to startle and inspire feminists today. Hayden is nowhere more eloquent than when she urges that the social criticism and the utopian visions of material feminists, despite their limits and their blunders, be taken seriously. An architect herself, Hayden has brought history to life by insisting that social problems are also spatial problems, and must be addressed as such.

— Nancy Cott, The New York Review of Books

This is a book that is full of things I have never seen before, and full of new things to say about things I thought I knew well. It is a book about houses and about culture and about how each affects the other, and it must stand as one of the major works on the history of modern housing.

— Paul Goldberger, The New York Times Book Review

For most women, the old household drudgeries have merely been replaced by new suburban drudgeries. We now have women architects…but few if any of them are addressing the issues of residential and community design that are still keeping women ‘in their place’ and that, a century and a half ago, led to what Dolores Hayden calls ‘material feminism.’

— Wolf Von Eckardt, Washington Post