Crafty Manolo » Good Godey

Good Godey

By Twistie

This is the cover of the Godey’s Lady’s Book for June, 1867. The Lady’s Book is one of the best resources we have to understand the priorities, ambitions, and lives of the average American woman during the time it was published, from 1830 – 1898. It circulated through the entire country during that time with a readership that grew as high as 150,000 in its heyday.

Founded by Louis A. Godey, the editor who really brought the magazine into its own was Sarah Josepha Hale who ran the show from 1837 – 1877. Hale, in addition to editing the Lady’s Book, is also significant for writing Mary Had a Little Lamb and for encouraging President Abraham Lincoln to revive Thanksgiving as a national holiday (Thanks, Sarah! The turkey and stuffing were delicious!). She insisted on publishing only American manuscripts for American audiences. Unlike other women’s magazines of the time, that showed Parisian fashions and offered stories originally written in German and French, Godey was all about America.

Of course, there were things that got firmly swept under the nearest rug and ordered to stay put. One author, Sara Jane Lippencott who wrote under the pseudonym Grace Greenwood, was fired by Godey for denouncing slavery. And while the magazine ran throughout the Civil War, it politely declined to take sides. That was politics. Politics were not welcome at Godey’s.

So what was welcome? Fashion plates illustrating the latest styles from Philadelphia and New York, short stories and poems of a blatantly moral persuasion, hints for running an orderly household, recipes, and – of course – instructions for crafts.

Most of the patterns were for knitting, crochet, embroidery, or sewing, though sometimes other ‘ladylike’ crafts might be featured. Crochet, however, does seem to be the most prominent craft in the issues I’ve seen.

For instance, here’s a crocheted cushion cover whose instructions ran in  the March 1850 issue. In fact, if you’d like to make it yourself, you can find the instructions right here under the heading ‘Work Table.’

There are several sites that reprint entire issues of Godey’s Lady’s Book online. Other sites just show the fashion plates, which are probably the most famous aspect of the Book.

If you’re looking for American Victorian period crafts to do at your Civil War re-enactment or just because they appeal to you, go check out these sites:

Godey’s Lady’s Book Online

Hope Greenburg’s Godey’s Lady’s Book

Or, if you just want projects and don’t want to see the whole magazine, check out this page of The Costumer’s Manifesto.

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
Copyright © 2004-2009; Manolo the Shoeblogger, All Rights Reserved

  • Recent Comments:

  • Subscribe!



    Manolo the Shoeblogger

    Quirks of Art - Scrapbook & Rubber Stamping Supplies


  • Archives:

  • August 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010