|Godey's Lady's Book, 1830-1890
||Godey`s Lady`s Book (1830-1885)
(includes 18,000 images) has both a cultural and an egalitarian thrust.
Intended to entertain, inform, educate, and empower the growing audience of middle class women in America. In addition to extensive fashion descriptions and plates, the early issues included biographical sketches, articles about mineralogy, handcrafts, female costume, the dance, equestrienne procedures, health & hygiene, recipes, remedies, etc. Each issue also contained two pages of sheet music, written essentially for the piano forte. Gradually the periodical matured into an important literary magazine and contained extensive book reviews and works by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and many other celebrated 19th century authors who regularly furnished the magazine with essays, poetry and short stories. The Lady`s Book was also a vast reservoir of handsome illustrations, which included hand-colored fashion plates, mezzotints, engravings, woodcuts, and ultimately chromolithographs.
In 1836, Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879) became the new editor of Godey`s Lady`s Book. Mrs. Hale brought substance to the magazine, and wrote frequently about the notion of "women`s sphere." In 1846 she stated, "The time of action is now.We have to sow the fields-the harvest is sure. The greatest triumph of this progression is redeeming woman from her inferior position and placing her side by side with man, a help-mate for him in all his pursuits." Her steadfast devotion of purpose and her unwavering editorial principles regarding social inequalities and the education of American women, made her one of the most important editors of her time. Under Mrs. Hale`s leadership the magazine flourished, reaching a pre-civil war circulation of 150,000. Editor, then publisher Louis Antoine Godey (1804-1878) and editor Sarah Hale became a force majeure in 19th century American life and culture.
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