Russel and Mary Wright's guide to easier living and the "New American Way of Life"

Lucinda Kaukas Havenhand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


American designers Russel and Mary Wright's seminal home design advice book, Guide to Easier Living, first published in 1950, provided thousands of Americans with instructions for creating flexible and easily maintained homes appropriate for the new, more informal, "American Way of Life" of the post-Second World War era. Embedded in their guide, however, is a strong undercurrent of nationalism which stems from the Wrights' belief that a distinctly American identity for American design, free from European influences, must be created and that only American design could best serve the American people. This article explores how the Wrights' nationalistic vision of American design was both shaped and transmitted in the Guide to Easier Living and its proscribed day-to-day living and housekeeping practices and how their zealous nationalism can be seen as a part of an ongoing trend in American society recognizable in various layers of its culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-218
Number of pages20
JournalInteriors: Design, Architecture, Culture
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • American design
  • American exceptionalism
  • American nationalism
  • Home advice
  • Postwar design
  • Russel and Mary Wright

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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