Tag Archives: Godey’s Lady’s Book
Parlor

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.

THE CULTIVATION OF TASTE

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.

ENCOURAGEMENT

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.
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kitchen

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


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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:—

IS WOMAN SUFFRAGE NECESSARY?

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.
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Marie Antoinette playing the harp at the French Court in 1777

Godey’s Lady’s Book: Marie Antoinette

This profile of Marie Antoinette (born Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna von Habsburg-Lothringen) by Josephine Robbins Fuller appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book in March 1877.

Marie Antoinette playing the spinet, 1769

Marie Antoinette playing the spinet, 1769

Crowns have many thorns, cruel thorns that not infrequently pierce the wearer to death. Marie Antoinette learned all the bitterness of this sad truth. She first opened her eyes in the palace at Vienna, November 2, 1755. She was the youngest daughter of the Emperor Francis, and the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. Her childhood was peaceful and happy amongst her brothers and sisters. She saw little of her stately mother, and her father died when she was only ten years old. She had an irrepressible propensity for fun and amusement, but possessed not that love and aptitude for the acquisition of book knowledge, without which teachers are in vain, and opportunities well-nigh useless.

Italian was the only language that she could speak and write, although later, she learned to converse in French. She was ignorant of history, philosophy, even of her own native German. In after years she keenly felt her deficiencies, yet she nowhere discovers the weakness, so common to little minds, that of being envious or jealous of others more fortunate than herself in these things.

When she was fifteen years old she was married to Louis Charles, heir apparent of the French throne. She was at this time very graceful and lovely, full of vivacity, and apt at repartee. She was tall, her movements easy and majestic, and there was something in the way she carried her head, in the spirited, animated expression of her countenance, in the very curve of her stately neck, that told you she could do and dare all that was heroic, if occasion required. Her prominent nose and cheek bones, though they marred the regularity of her features, added to the energetic expression of the face. Her hair was a light auburn color, and her eyes blue, frank, and sparkling. Her full lips, often parted by merry smiles, disclosed handsome teeth. Her high, broad forehead and arched eyebrows seemed suggestive of the ready mirthfulness that dimpled her cheeks, and the witty sayings that fell like pearls from her mouth.

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.

Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, the later Queen Marie Antoinette of France, at the age of 16 years

Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, the later Queen Marie Antoinette of France, at the age of 16 years

It was almost impossible to make a stiff woman of society of this free, wild, impulsive creature. She horrified ceremonious individuals by her reckless disregard of etiquette, disgusted intellectual circles by her ignorance, and prejudiced the mass of French people against her by her excessive frivolity and extravagance. She was, however, sincere and kind-hearted, and would not do what she considered wrong. Her husband resembled her only in the latter qualifications. He liked books and retirement, yet he was too wise to interfere with his wife’s pleasures, he had too much judgment and delicacy to say, “Behold my way of doing, act thou right, like myself.”

Their marriage had been one of policy, and such unions have their advantages, for if the young couple have no opportunity to fancy that they are ill a grand passion, they likewise have not the unhappiness so often known, that of recovering from their delusion after living together a few weeks. The young husband kept on in his own quiet pursuits, studied his wife at a respectful distance; saw that she was lovable, and possessed many traits worthy of admiration, and he patiently waited for her love.

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Valentines

A Year in the Home: February

Godey’s Lady’s Book played an important role in shaping the cultural customs in 19th century America. The “Queen of Monthlies” is best known for the hand-tinted fashion plate that appeared at the start of each issue, which provide a record of the progression of women’s dress.

Beyond clothing fashions, the articles and editorials in Godey’s included descriptions of current trends and acted as an arbiter of manners and helped shape many of the traditions practiced by American families today.

This was part of an 1890 series of articles covering a year of American domestic traditions and lore.

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.

A Year in the Home: February

By Augusta Salisbury Prescott

What are you going to do this year to keep alive the memory of Saint Valentine? Do you know who he was and why he is peculiarly entitled to be held in loving family remembrance?

He was a bishop who dwelt in Rome, and who made it his special care to look after the happiness of married couples, and to assist the young in their matchmaking. So it would be more than a pity if we were to allow the good old custom of celebrating his birthday to fall into desuetude. And then, too, the early months of the year are so long, and ofttimes tedious, that one may be glad to enliven them by taking advantage of every festival possible.

The old idea of sending a valentine in the form of a painted square of paper, containing a sentimental verse and, mayhap, a little looking-glass, has entirely gone out. But in place of this style have come others that make of valentine offerings. things of beauty and a joy as long as they last. They are souvenirs similar to those of Christmas, birthday and Easter, save that they differ in the sentiment, having on them a light line or two, or even no inscription at all save the date.

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