Magazines for Ladies
October 8, 2005 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Godey's Lady's Book. A 19th century American ladies' magazine, which contained poetry, engravings and articles. "It was a novel enterprise at the time, and few thought it would outlive the first year of its nativity. It soon became apparent, however, that its management was in the hands of one who knew the want of the time, and had the tact and taste required for its supply."
More here.
Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of 'Mary had a little lamb', who petitioned President Lincoln for a national holiday known as Thanksgiving Day, was an editor of the magazine.
posted by plep (14 comments total)
Good find. Some good and some cheesey illustrations. I like their interpretation of 'colour plate'. It's a good historical clothing resource actually. Thanks plep.
posted by peacay at 7:48 AM on October 8, 2005

Just completely off topic, that site has a history of eugenics in Vermont section too, which is pretty weirdly interesting - up to 1996.
posted by peacay at 7:59 AM on October 8, 2005

great stuff -- thanks plep!

: >
posted by amberglow at 8:30 AM on October 8, 2005

I have a partial copy of one of these, from around the 1870s. It's fascinating.
posted by youarejustalittleant at 9:58 AM on October 8, 2005

Whoops, I mean early 1860s.
posted by youarejustalittleant at 9:59 AM on October 8, 2005

I remember first seeing reference to Godey's in the Little House on the Prairie books. It's actually mentioned several times. The girls' clothing was fashioned based on patterns from it, and it was clearly an important resource for them -- a way for isolated, rural women to stay connected to fashion, to get some decent poetry, stories, and music, and to generally feel connected to the world. I imagine every issue would be an event. (Really, it's a shame how awful the TV series connected to the books is, and that they are mainly read by children if at all; they really have some fascinating insights into rural life and girlhood.) I'd never actually seen what an issue looked like, so this is a treat. Thanks, plep.
posted by melissa may at 10:32 AM on October 8, 2005

This is awesome, thank you.
posted by headspace at 10:51 AM on October 8, 2005

Great, thank you.
posted by marxchivist at 11:52 AM on October 8, 2005

...a way for isolated, rural women to stay connected to fashion, to get some decent poetry, stories, and music, and to generally feel connected to the world.

And also to get involved politically. Unlike the women's magazines of today, this one and others of its era offered more than just advertorials designed, ultimately, to disempower women enough to make them keep buying the magazines so they can learn what to buy to make them feel better. I was surprised and impressed to read about calls for women in medicine, praise for women missionaries, first-person accounts of political organizing...all mixed in with things like recipes, dress patterns, sheet music, fiction, and poetry (which themselves were not frivolous or filler but useful and important resources for householders).
posted by youarejustalittleant at 1:00 PM on October 8, 2005

Thanks for the great post.
posted by luckypozzo at 1:13 PM on October 8, 2005

Once again, plep brings delight with his amazing posts. I was made aware of Godey's Lady's Book while doing research on herbs in the 1970's, but have never had the pleasure of seeing any part of one of them until now. Thanks, plep!
posted by Lynsey at 7:44 PM on October 8, 2005

Very cool link. Melissa May stole a march on me by mentioning the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I've seen it mentioned in other fiction as well, such as the Caddie Woodlawn books. Yes, Godey's was an important resource back then. Especially when you consider that back then only one look was in style at a time. If you didn't wear it, you were out. Anyone in the know could date your dress as being say, two or five years old. I hadn't realized there was other information in it also.
posted by orange swan at 9:03 AM on October 9, 2005

One more issue.
posted by musicinmybrain at 6:03 PM on October 9, 2005

Thank you - great post, something I've always wanted a closer look at.
posted by Melinika at 6:14 PM on October 9, 2005

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