Sarah Josepha Hale

Jonathan Hodgkin

Boston, Massachusetts

August 1841:


Hello people! Once again, it’s Jonathan Hodgkin here. Exactly one week ago I was assigned a highly unusual assignment to write about Mr. Hale’s wife, Sarah Josepha Hale, for her utmost achievement of becoming the first woman editor for Mr. Godey’s magazine, the Lady’s Book. When first hearing the news of a women being an editor of the latest Philadelphian fashion magazine, I tried to restrain myself from dropping my jaw, in case of embarrassment or of me being plain out rude. I have been aware of Ms. Hale’s name, having been mentioned in the Rhode Island Republican news and then following that, the New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette, but it never occurred to me of the mere possibility of interviewing her myself nor the subject of a women to ever be this likely of relevance in this moment and time. url-2

Prior to Mr. Godey’s Magazine, Sarah Josepha Buell had married Mr. Hale, unfortunately after having five children, Mr. Hale passed away in 1822, this is the beginning of Ms. Hale’s venture to seek out a literary career for herself. She started writing poems, which were included in local journals, and then were collected into The Genius of Oblivion which she had published precisely 14 years ago. Due to her novel Northwood, a tale of New England in 1827, Ms. Hale was given the opportunity to work in Boston as the editor of the American Ladies’ Magazine. Ms. Hale wrote about literary criticism, essays, poetry, and largely spent her time advocating education for women. Women of all kinds did not give their full attention to Ms. Hale quite yet, but her efforts profoundly showed how strongly she believed in educating women.

Looking back on the Boston Gazette 1750, a poem is published from the Lady’s Magazine November issue on Stealing the Body of a Young Women to Be. This writing style gives a glimpse of what Ms. Hale was getting herself into. Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 11.09.02 PM

When reading this, a part of me pictures all the young women, rich or poor flipping through the Boston Gazette, not yet feeling satisfied with all the previous news, until their eyes in a heartbeat find the two words, Lady’s Magazine, and that’s when the rich will pull out their reading glasses to take a better glance at the newspaper, and the poor will pull the paper inches away in front of their noses just to see the text a little bit better. Even about 80 years ago, the Lady’s Magazine obtained the feminist approach that progressively grabbed the attention of women. Unfortunately, the Lady’s magazine withered away, which was when Godey’s Lady’s Book took its position. According to Milwaukee Weekly Sentinel, about one month ago the paper included a review on the Godey’s Lady’s Book in terms of the widespread opinions. The Milwaukee Weekly stated, “Godey’s Lady’s Book has been favored from the first with a list of writers that no other magazine can equal.” There has not been any other praise for a women’s magazine to this extent, and considering the “list of subscribers are larger than any monthly publication in this or perhaps any other country,” the praise for this magazine gives me a better idea of why I’m interviewing one of the writers.

Godey’s Lady’s Book contains articles, as Ms. Hale would say, about “domestic science” such as parenting, health, homemaking, and fitness. Ms. Hale believes that women should continue working at home, but she strangely believes that women should have the same rights as men by getting education. I can’t help but raise my eyebrow at her notion due to it seemingly socially incorrect. No matter what, women still appeal to her ideas.

In addition to Hale’s past achievements of her publications for women viewers, in 1830 she had also published poems for children including the verse Mary Had a Little Lamb. She appealed to women of America but also children which all of us educated people may know that at this moment and time, being an influential women even within one’s own state, is very difficult to come by.

Works Cited


TY  – NEWS N1  – Provider: NewsBank/Readex, Database: America’s Historical Newspapers, SQN: 11A11A62980CC8B8 PY  – 1841/06/08 JF  – Milwaukee Weekly Sentinel JA  – Milwaukee Sentinel VL  – IV IS  – 49 SP  – 4 CP  – Milwaukee, Wisconsin ER  –

N1  - Provider: NewsBank/Readex, Database: America's Historical Newspapers, SQN: 10444EEAB5CD3CAC
TI  - From the Lady's Magazine for November on Slealing the Body of a Young Women to Be
PY  - 1750/03/13
JF  - Boston Gazette
JA  - THE Boston Gazette, OR Weekly JOURNAL.
IS  - 1565
SP  - 1
CP  - Boston, Massachusetts
ER  -

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