Nineteenth-Century American Periodicals
Nineteenth-Century American Periodicals
The United States in the nineteenth century saw an exponential rise in the business of periodical publication, a boom that coincided with an era of rapid cultural and geographic growth. New methods of printing and distribution, combined with an increased literacy rate and a developing sense of national identity, helped facilitate this dramatic expansion. Beginning in 1800, when the country supported few periodicals, the industry developed popular readership throughout the country, and by the end of the century the modern mix of general interest and niche publications had been established.
Among the most influential early nineteenth-century periodicals was Joseph Dennie's Port Folio, which appeared for the first time in print on January 3, 1801. Dennie, a native of Philadelphia, hit upon the successful combination of politics and literature to fill the pages of his Federalist weekly. Guided by the strong personality of its editor/publisher, Port Folio set a pattern for future magazines by appealing to a general audience and featuring wit, insightful criticism, political analysis, and a generous amount of fiction and poetry. The magazine reached its zenith in the first decade of the nineteenth century but declined in quality after being sold by Dennie and ceased publication in 1827. The quiet demise of the ground-breaking Port Folio marks the birth of what influential early critic Frank Luther Mott termed the “Golden Age of Magazines” in America. Stretching from 1825 into the 1860s and the opening shots of the American Civil War, the period saw a surge in the number and scope of American periodicals and a dramatic increase in the appetite of audiences for the new monthlies. Prior to this period, the major urban newspapers had established their hegemony over hard news. But as the expanding consumer culture in America came to identify themselves as a nation of readers, the new general magazines met a growing demand for inexpensive, easily available literature that covered topics in a way the newspapers did not. The brilliant entrepreneur George R. Graham launched one of the most successful monthlies of the period. After purchasing two struggling periodicals at the close of the 1830s, he combined them to produce Graham's Magazine, which excelled by producing quality literary offerings between 1840 and 1858. A number of rivals to Graham's appeared at the time, during which hundreds of new magazines exploded on the scene, many with lifetimes measured in months or weeks rather than years. Others, like the New York-based Knickerbocker Magazine (established in 1833), had greater longevity and won audiences by printing the works of such notable American authors as Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
By the 1850s, the American magazine had become a staple of the culture. General monthlies, such as Harper's New Monthly Magazine, featured the latest serialized novels from England and across the country. These existed alongside more specialized periodicals as part of an enormous industry that in its essential qualities closely resembles the diverse magazine market of contemporary times. As Harper's and various other journals gained in readership through the 1850s, new magazines continually appeared. Late in 1857, the first issue of the Boston-based Atlantic Monthly made its debut. In the pages of the magazine appeared the finest and most popular American literature of the era, from the poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson to the socially incisive fiction of Harriet Beecher Stowe. In the South, Southern Literary Messenger dominated the periodicals market between 1834 and 1864 while dozens of other Southern monthlies started up and then became defunct just a few years later, seemingly unnoticed by fickle Southern readers. An important element in the success of the Messenger, scholars observe, was the editorship of one of America's nineteenth-century literary luminaries, Edgar Allan Poe, between 1835 and 1837—a brief but influential period that set a new standard of excellence among contributed poetry and fiction. While literature flourished in the South, periodicals in the North had increasingly become forums for robust disputation, with arguments over slavery, political corruption, poverty, and the conditions of industrial laborers frequently spread across the pages of popular magazines. But, as interest grew, economic and historical factors continued to sway the industry. The nation experienced a significant financial panic in 1857, causing a number of the less-established magazines to falter, although titles like Harper's and the Atlantic—already a part of everyday American life—continued unscathed. Only a few years later, the devastating effects of the American Civil War combined to overwhelm a steady stream of magazines, including the Southern Literary Messenger. Still, an astonishing number of publications, particularly many women's magazines, survived the war and emerged with renewed vigor.
The record of publications for women occupies a special place in the history of the American periodical, beginning with the nineteenth-century prototype of the woman's magazine, Godey's Lady's Book. Godey's began publication in 1830 and maintained a loyal readership until its end in 1898. Widely read, the magazine helped define the standards of women in Victorian America, taking the concept of feminine purity, critics observe, to almost mawkish levels. Nevertheless, this sentimentalized formula was highly successful in mid-century America and spawned numerous ladies' magazines that expounded similar principles and defined the mode of life for the middle-class woman by delineating precisely what it meant to be a successful mother, wife, or daughter.
Technological improvements in printing helped assure the continued strength and diversity of the American periodical industry after the Civil War. Between 1860 and 1900 the number of monthly magazines produced in the United States grew more than five-fold to number over 1,800 titles. Additionally, during the period of postwar Reconstruction, a number of magazine editors hit upon a new formula to satisfy the longings for renewed social harmony in war-weary America. Appealing to the tastes of the burgeoning middle-class, editors like R. W. Gilder began to publish the fiction of local color specialists, such as George Washington Cable and Thomas Nelson Page, whose works offered a gentle blend of romanticism, realism, and regional flavor. Gilder, first at Scribner's Monthly and later as editor of the Century, presided over the vogue in local color fiction and the new ‘genteel’ tradition in American letters, a combination that proved highly successful for publishers of literary magazines into the twentieth century. Meanwhile, others had taken advantage of new demands and interests among female readers. Among the most influential of these new periodicals aimed at women was the widely popular Ladies' Home Journal, founded in 1883 by Cyrus H. K. Curtis, a man recognized as a pioneering figure in the use of targeted print advertising. During the last decade of the nineteenth-century, editorial control of the Journal was taken over by Edward Bok. A master of the publicity campaign and a shrewd manager, Bok steered Curtis's magazine into a position of unprecedented popularity among women readers and effectively displaced the older generation of ladies' magazines. The Ladies' Home Journal became an American icon and is one of several examples of nineteenth-century magazines that have survived in some form through the end of the twentieth century.
Port Folio (periodical) 1801-27
The North American Review (periodical) 1815-
American Farmer (periodical) 1819-73
Western Review (periodical) 1819-1921
Saturday Evening Post (periodical) 1821-1969; 1971-
New-York Mirror (periodical) 1823-46
The Cherokee Phoenix and Indian Advocate (periodical) 1828-
The Southern Review (periodical) 1828-32
Godey's Lady's Book (periodical) 1830-98
The Southern Rose [previously Southern Rosebud] (periodical) 1832-39
Knickerbocker Magazine (periodical) 1833-65
New-Yorker (periodical) 1834-41
Southern Literary Messenger (periodical) 1834-64
The Ladies' Garland (periodical) 1837-49
New York Review (periodical) 1837-42
The Dial (Boston) (periodical) 1840-44
Graham's Magazine (periodical) 1840-58
Peterson's Ladies' National Magazine (periodical) 1842-98
The Pioneer (periodical) 1843
The Southern and Western Monthly Magazine and Review Simm's Magazine (periodical) 1845
Harper's Magazine [previously Harper's New Monthly] (periodical) 1850-
Putnam's Monthly [previously Putnam's Magazine] (periodical) 1853-1910
Leslie's Weekly [previously Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper] (periodical) 1855-1922
The Atlantic Monthly (periodical) 1857-
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Criticism: Overviews, Chronology, And Development
SOURCE: Mott, Frank Luther. “General Periodicals in the Era of Expansion.” In A History of American Magazines: 1741-1850, pp. 339-74. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1930.
[In the following excerpt, Mott surveys developments in the American periodical from 1825 to mid-century, with special focus on women's magazines and literary weeklies.]
POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN 1825
The years immediately following 1825 were epochal in practically all fields of endeavor in most of Europe and America. From the accession of Charles X to the French throne in 1824 events ran on rapidly to the revolution of 1830; Belgium achieved her independence in this latter year; Spanish liberalism submitted to defeat when confronted by a French army in 1823, but was again active a few years later; the young Mazzini, graduated from law school in 1826, was having his first experiences with the Carbonari and was soon to forge the thunderbolt of Young Italy; in spite of Metternich and his severe censorship of the press and the universities, the spirit of liberalism was far from dead in the German states; and in Greece, the national flag at last floated triumphant in 1829. In short, the monarchic reaction to the French Revolution had spent its force, and all Europe was yeasty with liberal reform in government. England was no exception; progress there was steady throughout the twenties toward the...
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SOURCE: Wood, James Playsted. “Innovation and Expansion in Coverage,” “Magazines as a Weapon against Political Corruption,” and “Emergence of the National Magazine.” In Magazines in the United States: Their Social and Economic Influence, pp. 75-89, 90-98, 99-104. New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1949.
[In the following excerpt, Wood concentrates on changes in American magazine publishing between 1850 and the 1870s as national concepts of audience, literature, and social responsibility began to coalesce in the United States.]
INNOVATION AND EXPANSION IN COVERAGE
The editors and publishers of early general magazines might look with awe and considerable envy on products of the periodical press today. Successors to Poe, Willis, Taylor, and the other “magazinists” of the 1840's have greatly developed the art of writing articles and stories particularly adapted to magazine publication. Magazine editing as it was developed by such later editors as Henry Mills Alden, Gertrude Battles Lane, Ellery Sedgwick, Edward Bok, S. S. McClure, and George Horace Lorimer, and as practiced today by Henry Luce, Dewitt Wallace, and their contemporaries has become a far more complicated profession than magazine editing as understood and deftly practiced by Joseph Dennie, Charles Brockden Brown, and Sarah Josepha Hale.
The rise of advertising and improvements in...
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SOURCE: Tebbel, John. “How the General Magazines Began” and “Periodicals as a Political Platform.” In The American Magazine: A Compact History, pp. 47-65. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1969.
[In the following excerpt, Tebbel recounts the rise of the general magazine between 1825 and 1850 and the importance of new periodicals as forums for political debate during this period.]
HOW THE GENERAL MAGAZINES BEGAN
The year 1825 was a turning point in both Europe and America. Abroad there was a rising wave of revolutionary movement in many countries, and a strong tide of reform was running. Change was the order of the day. It was also the primary fact of life in America as well, where the House of Representatives' denial of the Presidency to Andrew Jackson after he had won both the popular vote and the electoral vote, although by insufficient margins, paved the way for the coalition of South and West that sent him triumphantly to the White House four years later.
Jackson's accession was more than a Populist triumph, a grass-roots revolt that momentarily broke the hold of Easterners on national political life. It was the beginning of a new era in American politics, with large and far-reaching consequences that were not immediately foreseen. The nation had asserted itself as a nation for the first time. There was a suddenly awakened public consciousness of the...
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SOURCE: King, Kimball. “Local Color and the Rise of the American Magazine.” In Essays Mostly on Periodical Publishing in America: A Collection in Honor of Clarence Gohdes, edited by James Woodress, pp. 121-33. Durham: Duke University Press, 1973.
[In the following essay, King discusses the post-Civil War growth of local color fiction in the pages of American magazines.]
The emergence of the American magazine after the Civil War provided for many young writers access to the reading public and afforded them the opportunity and encouragement necessary for their development. Also the more established authors were in a better position to negotiate publication of separate full-length, hard-back books after their works had found an audience in the journals. Yet authors paid a price for magazine publication: compromises were extracted from those who chose this route to literary fame. The taste and expectations of the average magazine reader and the editor's philosophy imposed restrictions upon an artist's development. In turn a writer might unwittingly accustom his public to certain reassuring fictional attitudes or formulae which they would expect in his subsequent publications. It became difficult for some authors to mature because their initial writings had burdened them with an image which they were frequently hesitant to jeopardize.
American magazines have at various times created...
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SOURCE: Tebbel, John, and Mary Ellen Zuckerman. “Rise of the General Magazines” and “The Magazine as a Political and Cultural Influence.” In The Magazine in America: 1741-1990, pp. 8-13, 14-26. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.
[In the following excerpt, Tebbel and Zuckerman highlight the ascent of general magazines in post-1825 America. The critics focus on the political impact of new periodicals such as Harper's and the Atlantic at mid-century.]
RISE OF THE GENERAL MAGAZINES
As the nineteenth century began, there was a new energy in the business of making magazines. Old problems remained, but they were not as frustrating as they had been, at least for the better publications. Between 1800 and 1825, there was a surge in the number of new periodicals, the first warnings of a veritable magazine tsunami between 1825 and 1850, induced by the technological breakthrough in printing with the invention of the cylinder press and the rapid growth of a highly literate population that was eager for knowledge and entertainment.
As magazines found their audiences in this expanding national market, the broad pattern of the future industry began to be established. Specialized audiences developed quickly, particularly those for religious journals, but the major event after 1825 was the rise of the general magazine, which would dominate the consumer...
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Criticism: Literary Periodicals
SOURCE: Mott, Frank Luther. “Literary Types and Judgments” and “Literary Phases of Postbellum Magazines.” In A History of American Magazines: 1850-1865, pp. 157-87; 223-74. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1938.
[In the following excerpts, Mott evaluates the literature and literary criticism that appeared in American magazines from 1850 through the 1880s.]
LITERARY TYPES AND JUDGMENTS
“Next to that of Germany, the reading circle of the United States is the most extensive in the world,” asserted the editor of Putnam's Monthly in 1856. “There are more writers in France, and better writing in England, no doubt, than among ourselves; but these nations cannot compare with us in the number of intelligent readers.”1Norton's Literary Gazette gave statistics showing the publication of about a thousand books in the United States in 1852, one-third of them reprints—a figure doubled by 1855 and quadrupled by 1862. Lower prices for good books had much to do with this increase. “Twenty-five years ago, books sufficient to constitute a respectable library demanded a sum which few were able to spare,” said Church's Bizarre in 1852. “Now a library adequate to the wants of even the professed littérateur may be had at a price within the means of all save the very poorest.”2
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SOURCE: Simpson, Lewis P. “Poe's Vision of His Ideal Magazine.” In The Man of Letters in New England and the South: Essays on the History of the Literary Vocation in America, pp. 131-49. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1973.
[In the following essay, Simpson probes Edgar Allan Poe's attempts to establish a viable literary magazine in mid nineteenth-century America.]
“Touching ‘The Stylus’:—this is the one great purpose of my literary life.”
Poe to Philip Pendleton Cooke, 1846
Let us begin somewhat indirectly by looking at two pictures. One is the daguerreotype portrait made of Edgar Poe during the autumn of 1848 at Providence, Rhode Island, where on November 15, 1848—if we can believe his own testimony—Poe attempted to end his life by taking an overdose of laudanum. In this representation Poe appears as a rather seedy gentleman, with his right hand thrust pretentiously into an untidy waistcoat. His haunted, unfocused stare indicates he may have been at the time drunk, doped, or as mad as Roderick Usher.1 To say how many persons have been influenced in their conception of Poe by this daguerreotype would be impossible. But does it not resemble the dominant image in our memory of Poe more than any other depictions we have of him? It is the image of the demon-ridden “man apart” that...
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SOURCE: Mathews, James W. “Hawthorne and the Periodical Tale: From Popular Lore to Art.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 68, no. 2 (1974): 149-62.
[In the following essay, Mathews considers Nathaniel Hawthorne's awareness of the American magazine-reading public in composing his short stories.]
Nathaniel Hawthorne's frustrations in publishing his first short stories have been amply documented by such early biographers as Lathrop and Bridge and by more recent scholars Nelson F. Adkins and Seymour Gross.1 Their consensus is that most of Hawthorne's difficulty resulted from his necessity to utilize periodicals, with a resultant reduction of profit and prestige, rather than publishing in book form as he had initially planned. Influences on Hawthorne's choice of subject and theme have also been copiously studied2 and quite recently Doubleday has synthesized the myriad testimony that Hawthorne wrote within the framework of the energetic literary nationalism of the early nineteenth century and related thereunto a number of motifs already popularized by British and American books, magazines, and newspapers.3 Yet in all the studies of Hawthorne's sources and of his purposes in designing his short stories, scholars have given sparse attention to his audience awareness and his reliance for inspiration on the same periodicals in which he published. Only one...
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Criticism: Regional Periodicals
SOURCE: Hubbell, Jay B. “Southern Magazines.” In Culture in the South, edited by W. T. Couch, pp. 159-82. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1935.
[In the following essay, Hubbell documents the history of magazine publication in the nineteenth-century American South.]
Not until the better American magazines were threatened with extinction did their history receive any considerable attention from our scholars. Frank Luther Mott's A History of American Magazines, 1741-1850 was not published until 1930. In that year I learned that one of the oldest and best of the New York magazines was losing twenty-five thousand dollars a year. Some of the better magazines have ceased publication, and those which survive are in difficulties. Their troubles are not due merely to the depression; other causes are the radio, the moving picture, and the metropolitan Sunday newspaper with its numerous magazine features. The literary magazine can not command a large enough circulation to secure the advertising now necessary to make it a profitable venture. It is certainly time that we realized the importance of the part played in our cultural history by our magazines and devoted some attention to their history.
The southern magazines—probably the best expression of the mind of the South—were never adequately supported in their day, and all but a handful have been forgotten. We have...
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SOURCE: Marovitz, Sanford E. “Romance or Realism? Western Periodical Literature: 1893-1902.” Western American Literature 10, no. 1 (May 1975): 45-58.
[In the following essay, Marovitz assesses western-themed popular literature that appeared in four late nineteenth-century American periodicals.]
Two kinds of American fiction flourished during the decade preceding the publication of Owen Wister's The Virginian and Andy Adams' The Log of a Cowboy in 1902 and 1903 respectively, but the peak of one had already passed, and the heyday of the other was yet to come. The Virginian—with its idealized cowboy hero and schoolmarm heroine, its unredeemable villain, its lynching and its gunplay—had its American origin in the work of James Fenimore Cooper and Bret Harte, but it was nevertheless the first novel to include such an array of the actions and characters that ultimately would become the stock of myriads of “Western” writers from Zane Grey to those of our own day. Although the work was influenced by Howells and James, its pervasive romantic elements constituted a far more important contribution to the development of “Western” fiction than did its evident marks of authenticity in language and graphic description. The novel stands as a choice example of the neo-romantic fiction being published at the end of the nineteenth century with its implicit longing for an ideal past in a...
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SOURCE: Tomlinson, David. “Simms's Monthly Magazine: the Southern and Western Monthly Magazine and Review.” The Southern Literary Journal 8, no. 1 (fall 1975): 95-125.
[In the following essay, Tomlinson recounts the editorial agenda and brief publication history of Simm's Monthly Magazine, edited by the well-known southern writer William Gilmore Simms.]
Early in November 1844, William Gilmore Simms accepted the editorship of a proposed new magazine from Burges and James, the Charleston publishers. In spite of his misgivings about the name the owners had chosen for the periodical—“Simms's Southern Monthly”—the editor was only able to get them to change the title to a more unwieldly double one by the time the first issue appeared in mid-January 1845: Simms's Monthly Magazine: The Southern and Western Monthly Magazine and Review. Even the awkwardness of the title cannot ultimately obscure the rather sophisticated contents of the publication, however; and the enthusiasm reflected in the material betrays Simms's own zest for the writing and editorial tasks.
Simms's Monthly was, without a doubt, one of the finer periodicals published below the Potomac before the Civil War. What gave the work its distinctive place among Southern magazines was its flexible design, the editor's expertise in using that format, and the sensitive...
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SOURCE: Bonner, Judith H. “Art and Letters: An Illustrated Periodical of Nineteenth-Century New Orleans.” Southern Quarterly 27, no. 2 (winter 1989): 59-76.
[In the following essay, Bonner discusses the brief lifespan of the New Orleans periodical Arts and Letters.]
Early experiments in periodical publishing during the settlement of New Orleans were no more than newspaper reporting, avocational and inelegant in style.1 Reportage was limited to foreign affairs, marine traffic, election news and advertising. After 1830 topics expanded to include national and local affairs, and by way of literary endeavors, occasionally there were poems. After 1840 an increasing prosperity accompanied by a more intellectual approach to periodicals came to the city. Some magazines were published as weekly reviews, while others appeared monthly. Among these, Littéraire et Artistique (published in the early 1840s), which catered to a wealthy and educated audience, contained long serials, musical and dramatic critiques, and coverage of social events (see Tinker). The editorial approach marked a shift from a format of mere news to articles based on ideas.
One of the best-known examples of these literary magazines was Revue Louisianaise, published in the 1840s. Like its continental predecessors, Revue Louisianaise contained drama and literary criticism, European news...
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Criticism: Women's Magazines And Gender Issues
SOURCE: Thompson, Eleanor Wolf. “The Magazines and Their Editors.” In Education for Ladies 1830-1860: Ideas on Education in Magazines for Women, pp. 1-23. Morningside Heights, N. Y.: King's Crown Press, 1947.
[In the following essay, Thompson discusses the many magazines for women in pre-Civil War America.]
The Magazine for ladies in the United States1—north, south, east, and west—in the decades before the Civil War was Godey's Lady's Book.2 Was it not named The Lady's Book, with an accent on “the” and did not the astute Mr. Godey tell his readers that it was “the book of the nation”3 and keep them informed of its ever growing circulation until in January 1860, he could with joy “wish his hundred and fifty thousand subscribers the compliments of the season”?4 The understanding Mr. Godey did not for a moment think every lady read her own Lady's Book.5 In January 1859 he estimated the readers at half a million.6 Not only did he tell them the value of his product,7 he published complimentary correspondence from readers and from fellow editors,8 noted that Peterson's Book Store in Philadelphia sold thousands of the Lady's Book each month,9 and that copies were sent to Europe and the West Indies.10 Publishers of other fashion magazines, as...
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SOURCE: Bakker, Jan. “Another Dilemma of an Intellectual in the Old South: Caroline Gilman, the Peculiar Institution, and Greater Rights for Women in the Rose Magazines.” The Southern Literary Journal 17, no. 1 (fall 1984): 12-25.
[In the following essay, Bakker examines the “gentle feminism” and sentimentalized support for slavery in Caroline Howard Gilman's weeklies of the 1830s.]
Although she was a Yankee by birth and education, Mrs. Caroline Howard Gilman became the best known southern female author in the antebellum United States. Largely responsible for her literary fame was the nation-wide dissemination of her popular young people's magazines printed in Charleston from 1832 to 1839. These were the first such weeklies ever published in the country: The Rose Bud (August 11, 1832-August 24, 1833), The Southern Rose Bud (August 31, 1833-August 22, 1835), and The Southern Rose (September 5, 1835-August 17, 1839). As the changes in their name suggests, the Rose magazines became increasingly adult in form and content, growing up as it were with their maturing readers. In the Roses, Mrs. Gilman's three novels received national attention through their serialization. Along with her original fiction, she contributed the bulk of the periodicals' verse, essays, and reviews.1 Thus in her measure she overcame that “curse of southernism,” as she herself so aptly phrased...
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SOURCE: Zuckerman, Mary Ellen. “Birth of the Big Six.” In A History of Popular Women's Magazines in the United States, 1792-1995, pp. 3-23. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.
[In the following essay, portions of which were published in 1989, Zuckerman discusses the major American women's magazines of the late nineteenth century.]
Over fifty girls are employed to keep the subscription books during each day and a dozen others come to work at six p.m. and remain three hours every night.
—Ladies' Home Journal, 18871
The death of Godey's Lady's Book publisher Louis Godey in 1878 and that of its editor Sarah Josepha Hale the following year symbolized the end of an era for women's journals. This queen of the antebellum women's magazines had fallen on hard times, unable to keep up with the changing interests of readers. A spate of new women's magazines appeared in the 1870s, 1880s and 1890s. Changes in market demand, print technology, transportation systems, and financing worked to place magazines in the hands of ever greater numbers of readers. As Americans gained more leisure time and became more literate, they turned to magazines for education and relaxation. The time when a circulation of 150,000 (Godey's peak, obtained in the 1860s) could be considered an astounding success was past....
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Criticism: Minority Periodicals
SOURCE: Bullock, Penelope L. “In Retrospect.” In The Afro-American Periodical Press: 1838-1909, pp. 205-21. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981.
[In the following essay, Bullock summarizes the development of African-American periodicals between 1838 and 1909.]
We would call attention distinctly to the permanent and reference value of the contents of each number. Lapse of years will not diminish the value of these papers; on the contrary, they will increase in value.
—A. M. E. Church Review, July, 1896
During these seven decades [between 1838 and 1909], magazine publishing in general was undergoing significant growth in the United States, and, in many respects, the development of the Afro-American periodical press followed the same pattern as that of the general press. Magazine publishing began in the United States in 1741 with Andrew Bradford's American Magazine and Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine, both issued in Philadelphia. The definitive history of American magazines by Frank L. Mott shows that the periodical press did not begin to flourish until the nineteenth century; during the early years, American periodicals experienced the hardships of an emerging press in a developing nation.1
The editors and publishers of the first American magazines...
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SOURCE: Murphy, James E., and Sharon M. Murphy. “American Indian Newspapers, 1828 to the Civil War.” In Let My People Know: American Indian Journalism, 1828-1978, pp. 16-38. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1981.
[In the following excerpt, the Murphys examine the history of Native American news periodicals and their representation of Indian life prior to the Civil War.]
The survey of American Indian newspapers that starts here opens with an account of early-day press efforts, presenting their development in the context of the social forces that initially prompted the papers and eventually stifled them. Following a general overview, the chapter focuses closely on the first publications, including the Cherokee Phoenix, and then looks at several other pre-Civil War publications of the Five Civilized Tribes.
One of the primary tasks of the early papers was clearly educational—to promote among Indians a better chance for successful encounters with a world increasingly populated by whites. Reading those first Native American papers, one senses that their editors were aware of the inevitable: it was only a matter of time before tribal lands were surrounded and stolen. So their people needed to be able to read, write, and converse in the language of the white society in order to stand a chance for survival in the imminent collision of cultures.
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SOURCE: Jentz, John B. “The 48ers and the Politics of the German Labor Movement in Chicago during the Civil War Era: Community Formation and the Rise of a Labor Press.” In The German-American Radical Press: The Shaping of a Left Political Culture, 1850-1940, edited by Elliott Shore, Ken Fones-Wolf, and James P. Danky, pp. 49-62. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992.
[In the following essay, an earlier version of which was presented in 1988, Jentz describes the pivotal role of the leftist German-language press in the mid nineteenth-century American labor movement.]
During the Civil War a vital interethnic labor movement emerged in Chicago, as in other major northern cities. The Chicago movement combined Irish, German, British, and native-born workers in numerous unions and created a city central body that published its own labor paper. After the war this labor movement made Chicago the center of a national campaign for the eight-hour day. Although the eight-hour movement failed after the defeat of a massive strike in May 1867, organized labor regrouped and even expanded in some industries afterwards. Yet after 1867 there were really two organized movements, one German- and the other English-speaking. By 1869 each had its own city central organization of constituent unions as well as its own labor paper—the Workingman's Advocate and Der Deutsche Arbeiter. By the early 1870s—and...
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Albaugh, Gaylord P. History and Annotated Bibliography of American Religious Periodicals and Newspapers Established from 1730 through 1830. 2 vols. Worcester, Mass.: American Antiquarian Society, 1994, 1,456 p.
Compiles 590 religious periodicals and newspapers that appeared under 867 titles from 1730 to 1830.
Arndt, Karl J. R., and May E. Olson. German-American Newspapers and Periodicals, 1732-1955: History and Bibliography. Second, revised edition. Heidelberg: Quelle & Meyer, 1965, 810 p.
Documents approximately five thousand U. S. periodicals and newspapers, arranged geographically by state.
Edgar, Neal L. A History and Bibliography of American Magazines: 1810-1820. Metuchen, N. J.: The Scarecrow Press, 1975, 379 p.
Provides comprehensive coverage and bibliographic data for American periodicals published from 1810 to 1820 and evaluates their relation to political, historical, and cultural events of the time.
Endres, Kathleen L., and Therese L. Lueck, eds. Women's Periodicals in the United States: Social and Political Issues. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996, 529 p.
Features thousands of profiles of periodicals aimed at women.
Hoerder, Dirk, ed. The Immigrant Labor Press in North America, 1840s-1970s: An...
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