By Ray Lyman Wilbur, Secretary of the Interior and President of Better Homes in America.
Good public policy involves provision for informing the general public on the practical details of house architecture, construction, and equipment, and each of the processes involved in the purchase or financing of the house and the management of the home. This is a field in which science is making rapid progress and in which there are, therefore, new processes to be brought to public attention, and where the results of large numbers of studies and experiments should be made accessible to all householders and homemakers.
In this Manual are assembled the best contemporary statements obtainable on home ownership and financing, the methods of keeping the cost of the house down, points to be considered in the buying or building of a home, the selection of the site, and the fitting of the house to its site, the determination of architectural style and consideration of essentials in planning as well as the choice of materials to be used and selection of equipment for lighting, heating, ventilation, plumbing, and refrigeration, and the finishing of floors and walls. These are matters on which many government departments, state colleges, professional organizations, and periodicals publish thousands of articles of varying merit. The house- . holder or home builder may be easily perplexed or confused by the quantity of the available information or material, much of which is biased, incomplete, or inadequate. Access, therefore, to the best of contemporary advice on these subjects saves time and effort and conserves public resources.
Once the house is completed, and even before that time, problems of the selection and arrangement of furniture, selection of draperies, curtains, and pictures must be considered; and the setting of the house with reference to landscaping or the designing and planting of home grounds requires consideration, so that home and community values may not be impaired but actually enhanced. The solution of each of these important problems of the home inevitably involves a consideration of standards of housing and ideals of home life, on the one hand, and careful organization of economic resources through skilful budgeting and home management, on the other. Each must be considered with reference to the whole picture if the best effects are to be secured.
The purpose of this Manual is to assist the new generation of leaders in home improvement - teachers of home economics, home-demonstration leaders, members of home bureaus, and Better Homes committees as well as home owners and homemakers - to have access to the best available sources of information on each detail of home improvement.