Do you know what a mail is in a country town?
The arrival of a good handful of
letters, I mean, interspersed with brown-wrappered papers and stout magazines. . .
We hold up our aprons for them, white muslin, ribbon-trimmed aprons, such as
'Fashion' describes, and 'The Novelties' set forth. . . Look at my wardrobe; my
dresses, even my bonnet, I made myself from 'Godey!' My husband's slippers
there, with dilapidated toes, are from 'Godey.' My table-mats, my children's
clothes, my very puddings and pies are 'Godey's.
Letter from a subscriber in Brownsville, Texas
Godey's Lady's Book, Sept. 1855, p. 286.
outbreak of the Civil War, Godey's Lady's Book was the most successful
women's magazine in the United States, with a circulation of 150,000, and an
estimated readership of a million persons.
Subscribers from the cities of the northeast to the frontiers of the
Pacific Northwest and the cotton plantations of the South enjoyed this monthly
publication full of fashions, etiquette, receipts, patterns, house plans,
crafts, helpful hints, health advice, short stories, poetry, book notices, and
musical scores, all designed to inform "women" how to be
"ladies." As the regions
became increasingly politically estranged, Godey's remained a unifying
force among elite women and those aspiring to that status.
Literary editor Sarah Josepha Hale promoted such national concerns as the
preservation of Mount Vernon and the importance of advanced education for young
The war and the blockade of the South eliminated a large percentage of Godey's
readership, although the few scattered volumes that slipped in through the lines
were treasured by Confederate ladies. What
they saw would not offend them. Publisher
Louis Godey, perhaps desiring not to antagonize his future Southern subscribers,
allowed no mention of politics or the war in his magazine.
No articles even appeared organizing or supporting Northern Sanitary
Fairs and hospital relief, despite glowing articles on Florence Nightingale and
her efforts in the Crimea. Instead,
Godey's remained "a lodge in the wilderness," and "an
oasis in the desert"--"a quite, cultured garden on which the burning
lava had not even breathed." Despite
the publisher's efforts, postwar subscriptions would never regain 1860 levels.
This site utilizes the semi-annual index originally published with each volume of Godey's, amplified with designators for fiction, poetry, and songs, and detailed lists of individual receipts, book titles, and topics in editorial columns. Please note that initial articles are used in alphabetizing as they were in the original. Page numbers refer to the first page of the article. Researchers may use the website search engine to search for topics across the years, or may visit specific dates and view volume contents.
No photocopy service is provided with this index.
Most major libraries include backfiles of Godey's either in bound
volumes or in microfilm. The Robert
R. Muntz Library at the University of Texas at Tyler holds microfilm for Godey's
Lady's Book for 1840-1892 and for Godey's Magazine for 1892-1898.
General Search Hints
Other Godey's Sites
Lady's Book Online (University of Rochester)
Godey's Lady's Book (University of Vermont)
Carol Dick. "Sarah Josepha
Hale, the Editor of Godey's Lady's Book." A.M. thesis, University of Chicago, 1976.
Olive. First Woman Editor: Sarah
J. Hale. New York:
Julian Messner, 1960.
Isabelle Webb. Sarah Josepha
Hale and Godey's Lady's Book. Philadelphia:
Lancaster Press, 1932
Ruth. The Lady of Godey's, Sarah
Josepha Hale. Philadelphia:
Hill, Ralph Nading. "Mr. Godey's Lady." American Heritage 9 no. 6 (1958): 20-27, 97-101.
Koza, Julia Eklund. "Music and References to Music in godey's Lady's Book, 1830-77." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1988.
Lee, Nancy Lou. "Godey's Lady's Book and Its Relationship to Adult Education: A Historical Analysis." Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oklahoma, 1985.
Lewis, Mary Jane. "Godey's Lady's Book: Contributions to the Promotion and Development of the American Fashion Magazine in Nineteenth-Century America." Ph.D. dissertation, New York University, 1996.
McCall, Laura. "'The Reign of Brute Force is Now Over': A Content Analysis of Godey's Lady's Book, 1830-1860." Journal of the Early Republic 9 no. 2 (1989): 217-236.
Ruth. The Fancy Work of Godey's
Lady's Book, 1840-1859. Ottawa:
Canadian Heritage, Parks Canada, 1993.
Patricia Ann. "Feminizing the
Voice of Literary Authority: Sarah
J. Hale's Editorship of the Ladies' Magazine and Godey's Lady's Book."
Ph.D. dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1990.
Okker, Patricia Ann. "Sarah Josepha Hale, Lydia Sigourney, and the Poetic Tradition in Two Nineteenth-Century Women's Magazines." American Periodicals 3 (1993): 32-42.
Ricciotti, Dominic. "Popular Art in "Godey's Lady's Book": An Image of the American Woman, 1830-1860." Historical New Hampshire 27 no. 1 (1972): 3-26.
Sherbrooke. Sarah Josepha Hale:
A New England Pioneer, 1788-1879.
Grantham, NH: Tompson and
Nicole. Domesticity with a
Difference: The Nonfiction of
Catharine Beecher, Sarah
J. Hale, Fanny Fern, and Margaret Fuller. University
Press of Mississippi, 1997.
Patricia Anne. "Sarah Josepha
Hale: an Historical Analysis of Her
Political and Social Contributions." M.A.
thesis, University of Wisconsin--Oshkosh, 1984.
Gail Caskey. "Influence of Godey's
Lady's Book on the American Woman and Her Home:
Contributions to a National Culture, 1830-1877."
Ph.D. dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1988.
Lori Michelle. "A Thorough,
Radical HOME Reform: The Health
Department Columns in Godey's Lady's Book, 1858-1863." A.B. thesis, Harvard University, 1988.
Angela Marie Howard. "For the
Improvement of My Sex: Sarah
Josepha Hale's Editorship of Godey's Lady's Book, 1837-1877." Ph.D. dissertation, Ohio State University, 1978.