Kirkus Star


Email this review


This is a light history of the American women's magazines. The book also involves considerable social history as it was reflected in these magazines and the author parallels her story with references to the growth of democracy and the extension of women's rights. Beginning with the first magazine of this kind -- The Ladies' Magazine, begun by Sara Josepha Hale in Boston in 1828, Helen Woodward (who went to work for the Woman's Home Companion in 1908) traces the founding of the various magazines which were to follow: Godey's Lady Book, McCall's, Delineator, Ladies' Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, and she discusses them in terms of their purposes and the contents which she divides into Entertainment, Enlightenment and Service. Helen Woodward is no fan of the ladies' magazines, though she has a great admiration for Mrs. Hale, and she feels that whatever value the magazines had at their inception, particularly in their service departments, has now been completely lost in the plethora of pseudo medical and psychological material to which they are devoted. The decline of the magazines is due, she feels, to the fact that new editors have disregarded the patterns which built them up in favor of what they thought the public wanted. Though it is repetitious The Dady Persuaders is both intelligent and interesting and Mrs. Woodward does a very fair job in spite of her poor opinion of her subject.

Pub Date: June 30th, 1960
Publisher: McDowell, Obolensky