"Beneficial to All Ingenious Persons of the Female Sex"

As a soapmaker and librarian, when the time came to develop a logo for the MacBath I naturally turned to historic books for inspiration. The Folger Shakespeare Library has an amazing collection of digitized texts that were ripe for the plundering. (What? You've never browsed their digital collection? Stop reading immediately and GO FORTH. I'll wait.)

I was delighted to discover multiple bookplates, texts, and recipes written by women for women during the Elizabethan and Restoration eras, just waiting to be rediscovered. One of my favorites was the frontpiece for "The Queene-Like Closet or Rich Cabinet" written by Hannah Woolley in 1675. Just look at those gorgeous illustrations!

Queene-Like Closet


Full title: "The queen-like closet, or Rich cabinet: stored with all manner of rare receipts for preserving, candying and cookery. Very pleasant and beneficial to all ingenious persons of the female sex." - Hannah Woolley, 1675

I took an excerpt from this page as The MacBath's logo, to honor the generations of women making soap and passing on their knowledge to the rest of us. We may have access to ingredients that they never would have dreamed of, but the basic process remains the same. When we study the 17th century, the lives and accomplishments of craftspeople are not usually in the curriculum - but that doesn't mean that we don't have records of their lives and accomplishments! As an "ingenious person of the female sex", I'm thrilled to read Hannah Woolley's words almost 350 years later and to make her work the face of my company.