THE RISE OF THE LADY'S BOOKS
Though the annual and the gift book in America persisted even to the time of the civil war, reaching their maximum in quantity as late as 1845, they had in quality and influence reached their height a decade before. From the publisher's standpoint they had been very profitable. The editor of the English Forget Me Not for 1827 announced in his preface that, "though nearly ten thousand copies of the last volume were printed, yet so rapid and ex. tensive was the demand that this large impression was exhausted some time before Christmas, and the publisher received orders for thousands more than he was able to supply," a statement that had immediate effect on this side of the water. By 1830 the news stands of America were covered with gift books, and every publisher was planning new volumes for the coming season.
It was at this point that an enterprising publisher in Philadelphia, Lewis A. Godey, conceived what proved to be a revolutionary idea: the annuals were published primarily as presents for ladies; they succeeded because of their feminine appealwhy not issue them oftener than yearly? why not issue them monthly, with strong emphasis upon those features that would attract feminine attention? Such a thing was by no means new in America. Periodicals with titles like The Lady's Magazine, or Entertaining Companion for the Fair Sex, made attractive with poems and moral tales and engravings and even with colored fashion plates had sprung up every year for two decades, usually to perish after a few excited issues.1 Godey's Lady's Book, however, the first____________________