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Godey's Lady's Book

City: Philadelphia

County: Philadelphia

State: Pennsylvania

Godey's Lady's Book was an American women's magazine published in Philadelphia. In 1830, Louis A. Godey published the first issue of his "Lady's Book." Godey established Godey's Lady's Book to attract the growing audience of American women. In 1837, Godey merged his Lady's Book with the Ladies' Magazine of Boston. Sarah J. Hale, a renowned author and editor of the Ladies' Magazine, became the new editor of the Lady's Book. Hale edited the Lady's Book from Boston until 1841, when she moved to Philadelphia to edit the magazine. She would remain editor until well after the Civil War. Under Godey's and Hale's leadership, the Lady's Book became one of the most prominent magazines in the country, publishing novels, short stories, poems, reviews, and literary criticism from leading male and female American and foreign writers. Godey supplemented literature with well-executed steel engravings of the latest fashions, furniture, houses, and other wares. With 150,000 subscribers in 1850, Godey's Lady's Book had the largest circulation of any antebellum American journal. Godey's consistently eschewed controversial topics, most notably sectarian religion and partisan politics. When the Civil War commenced, Godey refused to allow his magazine to take a side on the war. The magazine did not acknowledge that a war was raging, leaving coverage of the combat to Harper's Weekly and other newspapers. In consequence, Godey's lost a third of its subscribers. Godey continued to publish the Lady's Book until 1877, when he sold it. It ceased publication in 1878.

Anne C. Rose, Voices of the Marketplace: American Thought and Culture, 1830-1860 (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), 75; Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer, The Literary History of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs, 1906), 229-32; Gail Underwood Parker, More than Petticoats: Remarkable New Hampshire Women (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot, 2009), 32.