Sarah Josepha Hale (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: The author of poetry, novels, plays, and cookbooks, as well as an important history of women, Hale is best known as the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, the most popular magazine in the United States before the Civil War. As editor of this women’s magazine, Hale encouraged and supported women writers, and she advocated improved opportunities for women’s education and work.
Born October 24, 1788, on a farm outside Newport, New Hampshire, Sarah Josepha Buell was one of four children of Gordon and Martha Whittlesey Buell. Though opportunities for formal schooling for girls were limited at the time, Buell received a good education at home, and she credited her mother with inspiring her love of literature. Despite limited access to books, Buell read widely during her youth. By the time she was fifteen, for example, she had read all of William Shakespeare’s works. Other favorites included the Bible, John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1678, 1684), and Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794). Buell also benefited from tutoring by her brother Horatio, who attended Dartmouth College. During Horatio’s summer vacations at home, the two studied Latin, Greek, philosophy, English grammar, rhetoric, geography, and literature. Hale drew on her strong education when, at age eighteen, she opened a private school for children. She continued to teach until 1813, when she...
(The entire section is 1860 words.)
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