Periodicals Department Collection and State Library Resources

More Women’s Magazines from the Pratt Library Collections

Part 2:  The Higher Life of the Household

 

During the second half of the 19th century a new generation of periodicals for women emerged, some of which continue today. While their predecessors had been primarily literary magazines, the proliferation of “home journals,” “family visitors,” and “household monthlies” in the titles of these newer serials indicated their areas of emphasis.

 

 Good Housekeeping 1910

(Good Housekeeping, 1910)

  

Some notable titles held by the Periodicals Department include:

  • Frank Leslie’s Lady’s Magazine (1864 – 1882)
  • Harper’s Bazaar (1868 – present)
  • LadiesHome Journal (1885 – present)
  • Arthur’s Home Magazine (1886 – 1896)
  • The Delineator (1906 – 1937)
  • Good Housekeeping (1909 – present)
  • Woman’s Home Companion (1912 – 1957)

 

The influence of Godey’s Lady’s Book was evident in the earliest mid-century women’s magazines--Arthur’s Home Magazine (founded 1852) and Leslie’s Lady’s Magazine (founded  1854)--which continued the successful formula of beautifully colored fashion plates, popular fiction, and regular features on fashion and homemaking.

 

Stove advertisement

(The Delineator, 1906)

 

The biggest changes to women’s magazines came with new household technology and products. Scouring powder and laundry soap sold in flakes, rather than bars, made two of the most arduous cleaning chores a little easier, as did the availability of commercial laundries. Iceboxes, widely available canned foods, and chain grocery chores reduced some of the burdens of food shopping and preparation. Major appliances such as sewing machines and vacuum cleaners slowly came down in price and were purchased as more and more households acquired electricity.

These magazines focused on “scientific” housekeeping, serving as an authoritative source of cooking, cleaning, and childrearing advice. They also—in a definitive break from their predecessors—carried extensive advertising. The unspoken white, middle-class female audience they addressed was now defined by consumption, rather than cultivation.

 

Sewing Machine
 (The Delineator, 1906)

Find out more in Part 3: Variations On A Theme.