Summary (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Though she was not the first woman magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale enjoyed a longer and more influential career than had any American woman before her. During her fifty-year editorial career, Hale made significant contributions to American literature and to women’s issues. She published or reviewed the work of such writers as Edgar Allan Poe, James Fenimore Cooper, and Herman Melville. As editor of a popular women’s magazine, Hale was able to support women writers, many of whom, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Lydia Sigourney, published their work in her magazines.
Through her editorial columns, Hale was also able to support other issues related to women. Although she did not advocate women’s voting rights, she was a strong spokeswoman for property rights for married women, improved women’s education, and increased opportunities for women’s wage-earning work. Ultimately, one of Hale’s most lasting contributions may have been in encouraging other women to pursue careers in publishing and periodicals. By proving that a women’s literary magazine could be the nation’s most popular periodical and by demonstrating that a woman could manage such a magazine, Hale undoubtedly helped to pave the way for later women editors, authors, and journalists.
(The entire section is 204 words.)
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