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The Mainspring of Fashion

Sarah Josepha Hale, ca. 1850

Sarah Josepha Hale, ca. 1850

Item 11544 info
Brick Store Museum

Under Sarah Josepha Hale's direction, Godey's Lady's Book brought American authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, Harriet Beecher Stowe, John Greenleaf Whittier, Horace Greeley, Washington Irving, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes into thousands of American homes.

The magazine also carried articles of current interest; beauty hints, advice on homemaking, needlework, music, and a host of other features.

Circulation reached 150,000, an astounding number at the time, made possible perhaps by the low price of 25 cents per copy.

Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879), who grew up in New Hampshire, earned the equivalent of a college degree by reading and being tutored by her brother, who went to Dartmouth College.

In 1813 she married David Hale, a young lawyer who had opened an office in Newport. With his encouragement, Sarah began to write articles for the newspaper and established a local literary club.

David Hale died in 1822, leaving Sarah on her own with five children.

She turned to writing, publishing her first novel, Northwood, in 1827. Its success led to her magazine-editing career.


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