The Lady of Godey's, Sarah Josepha Hale

The Lady of Godey's, Sarah Josepha Hale

The Lady of Godey's, Sarah Josepha Hale

The Lady of Godey's, Sarah Josepha Hale

Excerpt

As Mrs. Hale said in one of her own prefaces:

"Every new book must have, in the consciousness of its author, a private history that would, if unfolded, reveal the character and tendencies of the volume, and thus make the best preface."

The private history of this book is as follows:

While engaged in research, for a previous book, through such source-material as old magazines and newspapers, I discovered the real Godey's Lady's Book--something quite distinct as a whole from the quaint fashion prints that now alone recall this old-time periodical. Here almost a century ago were the beginnings of the various departments--cookery, beauty, health, architecture, gardening, interior decoration --so highly developed in to-day's home magazines. All was handled very differently, yet with an amazingly modern touch. So my first thought was to write the story of American magazines, backgrounding rather minutely our modern popular periodicals.

Then I discovered that these departments of Godey's, and its fiction and feature as well, contained all kinds of first-hand information about the customs, habits and viewpoints of a bygone America concerning which, though constituting our immediate yesterday, little has been written. Now mere magazine-making appeared less important, and I was tempted to use Godey's as a peg on which to hang a social review of the nineteenth century.

But soon it was evident, not only that most of the great literary names of nineteenth-century America were signed to Lady's Book articles, but that these contributors were . . .

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