October 12, 1851

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Sunday Oct 12th  Had a Catholic meeting at 8 Oclock  Jane went

Have not been to meeting to day on account of the

humour was affraid that I could not sit still.  Susan

went & all the rest of the family  Read in Goodeys

Ladys Book .  Quite stormy & could not go to

Augustus’ as I intended  Have had a very quiet 

day

For the third Sunday in a row, Evelina missed church.  Her nettlerash, or “humour,” still bothered her to such an extent that she had trouble sitting still. She stayed home and by her own admission, “had a very quiet day” while the rest of her family went to meeting. Even the servant, Jane McHanna, left the house to go to a service in the new Catholic Church on Pond Street.

Her father-in-law, Old Oliver Ames, who kept a daily record of the weather, reported that “this was a cloudy warm day and there was 2 or 3 small showers in all about one 4th or 3/8 of an inch southerly.” Evelina evidently studied the raindrops from her perch in the house and decided to postpone her intended visit to the village to see her nephew and his family. Instead she read from Godey’s Lady’s Book, the popular monthly periodical to which she subscribed.

Published in Philadelphia by Louis Godey and edited by Sarah Josepha Hale (a high-profile writer who, among many other accomplishments, wrote Mary Had a Little Lamb), Godey’s Lady’s Book was, as its title suggests, targeted at women. It featured domestic fiction and household hints, sentimental poetry and architectural plans.  It showcased contemporary writing by authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Washington Irving, yet also published three editions in which women, and only women, wrote the articles.  A testy Hawthorne actually complained to his publisher about the influx of female authors, calling them “a damned mob of scribbling women.”

By 1855, the magazine even carried a feature entitled Employment for Women. Each monthly volume of Godey’s contained various illustrations and at least one fashion plate, imperative for home-seamstresses everywhere who wanted to stay abreast of the styles in dress. It was a magazine perfectly aimed at Evelina, and she followed it loyally.

One thought on “October 12, 1851

  1. A damned mob of scribbling women?! He better not say that around some book clubs I know.

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