Tag Archives: Godey’s Lady’s Book

Three Bits of Advice from Godey’s Lady’s Book

Godey’s Lady’s Book magazine contained long short stories, plays, recipes, craft patterns, fashion plates, poems, and other items. These three bits of advice for their readers’ families appeared in the June 1866 issue as people were pulling their lives back together after the Civil War.


It is often said of persons, in a complimentary way, that they are sociable, meaning that they are friendly and talkative; but it depends somewhat on the character of a person’s speech, as well as its quantity, whether his acquaintance is desirable or not. Persons may be ever so well meaning, but if their conversation is only of the prevailing sickness, or the last horrible murder in the papers, unless you incline particularly to such kind of entertainment, they will be likely to prove dull companions in the end.

Or if an acquaintance is simply prosy, and talks with as dignified an air as if he fancied himself to be delivering a lecture on some moral subject, without any of the familiar language which makes intercourse with friends so charming, you will be as likely to go to sleep during his discourse as you would in a railway carriage while it is in motion, and wake up when he stopped. Or, if your caller should happen to be one full of his or her own petty cares, who will treat you to a history of all their little vexations, you will soon become tired, or irritable, or both; but no matter, you must hear all their plans for the present and future, whether you will or not. Sometimes, too, from this kind of sociable people, you will hear nothing but bits of flying gossip about people you are not at all interested in.

But when a friend enters about your own stamp, and you cannot speak without calling up a response from his mind; when your ideas and experiences correspond, and you heart grows lighter with the friendly interchange of thought, you are enjoying one of the highest pleasures of social intercourse. Such hours need not be counted among the vanishing pleasures, for the recollection of them is agreeable to both ever after.



How a Women Should Travel Abroad

This guide to traveling abroad was written for women traveling from the United States to Europe and appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book in May of 1892.

by Augusta Salisbury Prescott

The first time one goes abroad, one spends nearly all the time regretting that things were not done differently. The second time there are only about half as many regrets, and the third time the journey may be said to be a triumphant one, for all previous mistakes are rectified and the whole trips accomplished without waste of time, money, patience or any of those things that one hates to expend needlessly.

Now it is impossible to tell anyone who has ever been abroad, just exactly how to go and what to do so as to avoid being swindled by railroad porters, steamship stewards and other dignitaries who preside over the grand steamboats and cars which are the vehicles to take one from one country to another.

But it is possible to give so many hints and suggestions that one half of all the pitfalls are laid open to notice, and so the novice who is going abroad for the first-time may safely put herself under the second class of people who have been abroad once and who know something about it and yet who have not learned everything.

Now let the novice take heed and notice each and all of the things suggested, in order that she may arrive at a jump at the knowledge which it costs many people a great many dollars and a great deal of time to learn.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.



Advice from Godey’s Lady’s Book

Godey’s Lady’s Book was intended to entertain, inform and educate the women of America. In addition to extensive fashion descriptions and plates, the early issues included biographical sketches, articles about handcrafts, female costume, the dance, equestrienne procedures, health and hygiene, recipes and remedies and the like.

Over time, the magazine matured into an important literary magazine containing extensive book reviews and works by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and many other celebrated 19th century authors who regularly furnished the magazine with essays, poetry and short stories.

Between the stories and longer articles, Godey’s always included short items like the ones shown here.


No matter in what form the cultivation of taste may manifest itself — in paintings and sculptures, in the analysis of scenery, in the grouping of flowers, in the embellishment of window or the mantel, in the cultivation of criticism, and the appreciation of the true and beautiful in art generally — refinement of manners, kindliness of feelings, and a deeper devotion of religion will be its sure attendants.


There will always be enough in the events which befall us to relax the spring of our resolutions, and to moderate our best aims. Why should we enervate one another by silence when we should speak, by disparagement when we should praise, by shaking of the head when we should be patting on the shoulder, by gloomy vaticinations when we should incite to enterprise, by platitudinizing about the vanity of all things human when we should be stimulating generous and noble motives? There is not too great an exuberance of life in any of us, albeit where there is most, it may be ill-regulated or unwisely directed — and the influence which systematically lowers the action of life can only be mischievous. Brightness is health-giving as well as pleasant, and whatever imparts an impulse to the current of hope and gladness in our soul tends to make them more like, or more likely to come, what they should be.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.


Men and Women: Questions of Importance

Questions of Importance appeared in the March 1870 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book.  In the decade following the end of the Civil War, a great many former abolitionists turned their attention to the question of political equality for women.

A recurring theme that held the public’s attention all the way through the 20th century, when women finally succeeded in gaining voting rights nationally, was the idea that men and women had “natural” roles and “spheres” of influence and that tampering with the system would result in chaos or the destruction of the existing way of life.

Articles like this appeared in magazines and newspapers for decades while the nation slowly marched towards a more equal distribution of political power. The argument usually revolved around the idea that women would be best served by men exercising political power on their behalf to help them better serve their “natural” role in the world.

Questions of Importance

Two questions are now stirring public thought. That men are not women, and women are not men, will, we think, be admitted by the warmest advocates of extremes on either side. Then, however equal in ability and worth the sexes may be, there must be some difference in their offices and their daily employments.

To ascertain the limits of woman’s scope, we must ask what she ought to do, and what she ought not to do. What is for her only to perform in the world’s progress, and what is to be left wholly for man? What offices and employments can man and woman advantageously perform together? The first of these questions may perhaps be made clear to many minds, if we consider the instincts given by the Creator to women. That they are more religious than men is proven by their preponderance in all churches; that they are more pitiful, more gentle, more attached to family life, and better fitted to train children, who will deny?

Do not these considerations show woman’s place to be in the schools and the hospitals, in the supervision of charities, and especially in the medical profession? Let man “ride the whirlwind and direct the storm;” woman comes after the battle, and heals the wounds his passion or his patriotism has inflicted.

Our positions have been so fully set forth in a letter we have lately received, that we shall take the liberty to make an extract. Our correspondent is a professional and scientific man, whose contributions to philological science are well known.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.

An Illustration

I hold that a nation is, or is intended to be, one great household, and that in the work of the national household, each sex has its own appropriate part. To find out what this appropriate part is, we have only to observe what duty falls naturally to each sex in a private household.

  • The man is expected (1) to provide the income, (2) to protect the family, (3) to do the hard out-door work.
  • The woman has for her duties: (1) to train the children, (2) to attend to the sick, (3) to do the light in-door work.

Now, each of these departments of duty has its corresponding department in the national household. Let me put it in a tabular form, and you will see my whole theory at a glance:

  • Man’s Department: Revenue, War, Police, Judiciary, Public Works.
  • Women’s Department: Schools, Hospitals, Charities, Economic Supervision.

By economic supervision, I mean a department which has been too much neglected by the State, just because women have not done their proper duty. It is only of late years that any attention has been paid to sanitary and moral requirements in building houses (especially for the poor), in the regulations of emigrant vessels, in prisons, etc. Since women like Mrs. Fry, Miss Nightingale, Miss Rye, and others, have taken up these subjects, something has been done, but a vast deal more remains to do.”

The views of our correspondent as to the means of achieving these results differ from our own. We may return to them at another time. At present we would only add a few words. When to woman’s household and religious duties are added those of schoolmistress and doctress, with a share in the supervision of all public charities, in education, and in all associations for promoting intellectual and moral good, and for suppressing or ameliorating the evils of humanity, will she not have a field of action wide as her nature requires for its best development?

If so, would it not be for the honor and happiness of both man and woman that the former should take up the task of righting “woman’s wrongs,” and giving her the educational advantages she requires for her own improvement, than that she should rush into the arena of politics, and strive to win her way to them through the rough machinery of suffrage?

Source: Godey’s Lady’s Book – March 1870


A Word About Woman Suffrage from “Woman’s Wrongs”

Mary Abigail Dodge (March 31, 1833 – August 17, 1896) was an American writer and essayist, she wrote under pseudonym Gail Hamilton. Her writing is noted for its wit and promotion of equality of education and occupation for women.

This review of Gail Hamilton’s book, Woman’s Wrongs, appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book in the July, 1868 issue.

Gail Hamilton's "Woman's Wrongs"

Gail Hamilton’s “Woman’s Wrongs”

The last word upon the vexed question of Woman Suffrage is a little book by Gail Hamilton called “Woman’ s Wrongs.” Those who expect, from the title and from the writer’s well-known esprit de corps, warm advocacy of her sex’s right to the ballot and bitter denunciation of all who deny it will be disappointed— most of them pleasantly disappointed. We do not quote Gail Hamilton as an opponent to women’ s voting; she says distinctly that sex should no more affect the matter than height or weight. But she goes on to show how little the ballot will really give women; how many things there are of far more importance towards which it will do nothing. We cannot do better than quote some extracts, which we commend to those who believe in the widening of the suffrage as the introduction to a social and political millennium:—


Towards female suffrage in itself considered, I have never been able to feel otherwise than indifferent. There are so many things so infinitely more important, more close to the welfare and happiness of society and of individuals, and especially is the happiness of woman so apart from and independent of her right of suffrage, that it has seemed an altogether secondary and unimportant matter. Woman without the ballot may possess every condition of a dignified womanhood. It would sometimes seem, from the tone of discussion, as if the ballot were a sort of talisman, with a power to ward off all harm from its possessor. To me it looks rather like a clumsy contrivance for bringing opinion to bear on government— fine, delicate, precise, as compared with the old-time method of the sword; but coarse blundering, and insufficient, when compared with the pen, the fireside, and the thousand subtle social influences, penetrating, pervasive, purifying.

Godey’s Lady’s Book— Louis Antoine Godey began publishing Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1830. He designed his monthly magazine specifically to attract the growing audience of literate American women. The magazine was intended to entertain, inform, and educate the women of America.