A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 13, 2017
“Man works from sun to sun, but woman’s work is never done”

"A woman’s/mother’s work is never done” is an old saying of uncertain authorship. “Woman’s work is never done” was in an 1801 version of the poem “Darby and Joan.”

A slightly longer version of “woman’s work is never done” was printed in the Providence (RI) Journal in January 1827:

“Man works from sun to sun
But woman’s work is never done.”



The Free Dictionary
A woman’s work is never done.
Prov. Housework and raising children are jobs that have no end. (*Typically said by a woman to indicate how busy she is.)

Wikipedia: Darby and Joan
Darby and Joan is a proverbial phrase for a married couple content to share a quiet life of mutual devotion.
(...)
Appearances as a poetic conceit
John Darby and his wife Joan were first mentioned in print in a poem published in The Gentleman’s Magazine by Henry Woodfall in 1735, original title The Joys of Love never forgot. A Song. Woodfall had been apprentice to Darby, a printer in Bartholomew Close in the Little Britain area of London, who died in 1730. The poem was issued again as a broadsheet in 1748. One stanza of this poem reads:

Old Darby, with Joan by his side
You’ve often regarded with wonder.
He’s dropsical, she is sore-eyed
Yet they’re ever uneasy asunder.


The apparent popularity of this poem led to another titled “Darby and Joan” by St. John Honeywood (1763–1798). It reads, in part:

When Darby saw the setting sun,
He swung his scythe and home he run,
Sat down, drank off his quart and said,
“My work is done, I’ll go to bed.”


18 March 1801, The Baltimore Weekly Magazine (Baltimore, MD), pg. 232, col. 1:
DARBY and JOAN.
PART 1.
When Darby saw the setting sun,
He swung his scythe, and home he run,
Sat down, drank off his pint and said,
My work is done, I’ll go to bed.
“My work is done --” retorted Joan --
“My work is done!”—your constant tone;
But hapless woman ne’er can say
My work is done ‘till judgment day.

Here Darby hemm’d and rack’d his head,
To answer what his Joan had said;
But all in vain, her clack kept on --
Yes, woman’s work is never done!

11 January 1827, Boston (MA) Commercial Gazette, pg. 1, col. 3:
From the Providence Journal, of Jan. 1.
There is an old adage touching the domestic avocations of women which is peculiarly applicable to the employment of a conductor of a newspaper:

“Man works from sun to sun
But woman’s work is never done.”

September 1861, Arthur’s Home Magazine (Philadelphia, PA), “An Evening at Home, in Mr. and Mrs. Tyler’s Cottage” by Mrs. Harriet B. Francis, pg. 124, col. 1:
... “Man’s work is from sun to sun, woman’s work is never done;” ...

Google Books
14 May 1887, Good Housekeeping, “Hygiene for Housekeepers,” pg. 21, col. 1:
The old couplet,
“Man works from sun to sun;
But woman’s work is never done.”
is true to the letter, at least in so far as relates to the concluding line.

Google Books
The Century Dictionary
Edited by William Dwight Whitney
New York, NY: The Century Company
1911
Pg. 6058:
Man’s work from sun to sun
Woman’s work’s never done.
Old rime.

Google Books
Century of the Leisured Masses:
Entertainment and the Transformation of Twentieth-Century America

By David George Surdam
New York, NY: Oxford University Press
2015
Pg. 138:
My mother, who was not prone to complaining, used to sing the ditty, “Man may work from sun to sun; But woman’s work is never done.” The couplet may resonate with modern American women.

Twitter
Malik Nadeem Awan‏
@iamNadeemawan
A man’s work is from sun to sun, but a mother’s work is never done.
-Anonymous
11:43 PM - 13 May 2017

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Saturday, May 13, 2017 • Permalink