Saturday, November 22, 2008

Great Women in American Magazines: Sara Josepha Hale - A Little Lamb and a Lot of Turkey

In studying magazines, you come across so many interesting people. Perhaps one of the greatest and least appreciated is poet and editor Sara Josepha Hale. As editor of Godey's Lady Book, beginning in 1836's for nearly forty years, her influence on the American mores, fashion and culture cannot be underplayed. (Click on the issue picture below and check out her co-editor.)
Prior do this she founded and edited the important Ladies' Magazine. This is a great example of finding copies of magazines with the original wrappers intact.

Sara Josepha Hale is most remembered for her poem Mary's Lamb, published in the September 1830 issue of Juvenile Miscellany is perhaps the most recognizable snippet of magazine poetry ever published. I've only seen a few of these and they retail upwards of $3000.

Miss Hale was also the primary force behind making Thanksgiving a national holiday, by writing a letter to Lincoln convincing him to support legislation establishing a national holiday of Thanksgiving in 1863, previously only celebrated in New England. Think of her when you're carving your turkey! For more biographical information on this very important woman click on

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