Josepha Hale,” in Godey’s Lady’s Book 41 (1850): 326, frontispiece.
JOSEPHA HALE (1788-1879)
When her husband died suddenly in 1822, Sarah Hale found
herself and her five children in dire need of a steady income. Friends backed
the anonymous publication of a collection of her poetry, The Genius of Oblivion (1823). She also began to submit stories and
poems to literary magazines and quickly gained the attention and respect of
editors of the leading periodicals.
Asked by a Boston
publishing firm to edit the first American magazine written for women, Sarah
Hale accepted the position and moved her family from New
Hampshire to Boston
in 1828. She applied scrupulous editorial standards to the Ladies' Magazine: she accepted only
original material, solicited work from female contributors, and printed
articles that she thought would "improve" her readers. In 1837, at
the invitation of Louis Godey, she became the editor of Godey's Lady's Book after Godey
purchased the Ladies’ Magazine.
She moved to Philadelphia
and made Godey’s the
leading American women’s literary and fashion periodical for the
following four decades.
Although she opposed women's suffrage and eschewed
controversy in Godey's (she
maintained that political involvement would corrupt women's pristine moral
sensibility), she consistently advocated education, exercise, property rights,
and sensible fashion for women. In addition to her work on Godey’s, she authored or edited
many volumes. In 1853, she issued Woman’s
Record; or, Sketches of All Distinguished Women, from “The
Beginning” till A.D. 1850, which included abridged selections
from the writers’ works as well as short biographical sketches. She
issued two subsequent editions of the text and in them featured many of the
authors whose careers Hale had helped launch.
portraits appear in:
Read, ed. Female Poets of America
(1849), plate opposite p. 181.
Lady’s Writing Book (between 1849 and 1855?), vignette portrait
Hale, ed. Woman’s Record
(1853); also 1855 ed.
Jones, ed. The Illustrated American
Biography, vol. 2 (1854), p. 291.
The Ladies’ Repository (April, 1855),
plate preceding p. 193.
Coppée, ed. A Gallery of Distinguished
English and American Female Poets (1860), p. 297.