Godey's Lady's Book, alternatively known as Godey's Magazine and Lady's Book, was a United States magazine which was published in Philadelphia and popular among women during the 19th century. In the 1860s Godey's considered itself the "queen of monthlies".
Sarah Josepha Buell Hale
The life of Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (October 24, 1788 - April 30, 1879) was dominated by her editorship of "Godey's Lady's Book" for many decades.
In 1837 Hale began working as editor of "Godey's Lady's Book" but insisted she edit from Boston while her youngest son attended Harvard College. She remained editor at Godey's for forty years, retiring in 1877, near the age of ninety.
It was under Sarah Josepha Hale's editorship that "Godey's Lady's Book" became one of the major contributors to cultural change and customs in America during the Victorian era. It was also under her editorship that Longfellow, Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe and other great Victorian literary figures gained their greatest exposure to the American public.
When Hale started at Godey's, the magazine had a circulation of 10,000 subscribers. Two years later, it jumped to 40,000 and by 1860 had increased to 150,000 subscribers.
The magazine was expensive, subscribers paid $3.00 per year (for comparison, "The Saturday Evening Post" was only $2.00 per year). Even so, it was the most popular journal in its day.
Sarah Josepha Hale was the kind of dynamic person to make Godey's the dynamo that was her equal.
She was widowed and raised five children while writing and becoming one of America's most popular and successful female authors.
She wrote the rhyme "Mary Had A Little Lamb"...
...and she advocated proclamation of Thanksgiving Day as a national festival.
She was a formidable abolitionist, campaigned for higher education for women and many other charitable organizations and causes received her help and blessings throughout her life.
Godey's monthly periodical was not restricted to only the designs of the latest fashions and advice on the proper Victorian etiquette...
November 1871 Fashion Plate
1861 Architectural Rendering & Floor Plan
...but also included architectural renderings and floor plans for home designs...
...patterns for everyday utility items...
1855 Purse Pattern
1848 Drapery Display
...sketches and colored drawings of Victorian activities...
...stories, rhymes and poems of all kinds, pages of sheet music and a multitude of worthy information for the "modern Victorian".
The influence on the lives of the Victorian Americans from the information published in Godey's regarding fashion, architecture and Victorian etiquette is immeasurable.