Monday, June 24, 2013

Ladies Home Journal

It’s amazing to me how fast things change, sometimes without us really realizing it until we see an old picture or something else triggers a memory. Recently I came across an old copy of the Ladies Home Journal (from the 1970’s, so in reality it wasn’t that old) and I had to laugh out loud at some of the articles in it…which got me doing an online search…

Louisa Knapp Curtis married Cyrus Curtis in 1875. He was the publisher of The People’s Lodge in Boston. When that business was destroyed by a fire, they moved to Pennsylvania. He then founded the Tribune and Farmer magazine and a few years later, Louisa started writing one page supplements to be included with the magazine titled, Women at Home. The additions became so popular they became a standalone magazine in February of 1883.

Originally titled Ladies Home Journal and Practical Housekeeper, a year’s subscription cost fifty cents.

By 1903 the magazine had over 1 million subscribers.

A transition from the ‘newspaper’ look to the magazine image took place and this 1885 edition was their first color cover.

The magazine was said to offer practical instructions of duties, share experiences, anecdotes, hints and recipes in housekeeping as well as domestic management, all which were sure to increase the comforts of house and home. The magazine also hosted several pages of advertisements where women or men could order everything from the latest oil lamps and flour shifters to embroidery stamps and self-adjusting toasters and everything in between!  

Here is a one page section:

In my imagination I can see a young pioneer woman anxiously awaiting her next edition of the magazine and completely devouring it upon arrival.

There isn’t a magazine in my next release, The Cowboy who Caught her Eye, but there is a heroine who’s anxiously awaiting an arrival. That of her baby—however that is also what she’s hiding. Her pregnancy.

The Shopkeeper's Shame

Pregnant and unmarried, Molly Thorson knows her livelihood is under threat. The last thing she needs is a distracting cowboy swaggering into view. Especially one who knows she has a secret and still looks at her with desire in his eyes.

The Cowboy's Secret

Carter Buchanan knows all about secrets. It's his job to know. And Molly sure has something to hide. But the fear in her eyes touches a place he thought long-ago dead—and now this cowboy can't help but consider exchanging his pistol for a band of gold.…


Posted by Lauri Robinson



  1. I had no idea the magazine had been around that long. I have an old copy I found at an antique store, but it's 1920. I was amused at the ad for an "electric sink." Believe me, it's nothing like a modern dishwasher, but what an innovation for housewives. Best wishes for your new book.

  2. Lauri--this is the kind of stuff I love! I guess most of us do, since we write Western historical romances.
    In my newest WIP--Texas Dreamer--1915--Emilie marries a rancher west of Fort Worth. She's a city girl..Houston..and on the ranch, the housekeeper drags out a big heavy cast iron pot to the yard, fills it with water, and lights a fire under it. This is to wash clothes.
    But Emilie knows about the new "electric washing machines," and vows to ask Lee if he will buy one.
    It was so much fun reading about the machines and studying what they looked like, and how they worked.
    P.S. My grandmother never had a washing machine. She died in 1948, and she still used the big cast iron washing pot and a scrub board in the back yard by the well--no running water, either. I loved her--she was fat and cushy and I loved to sit on her lap.
    Thanks for the info about the magazine. Fascinating.

  3. Hi Lauri, oh I love the name of your hero...Carter is my grandbaby! Congrats on the new book. Your post brought back tons of memories of my gramma. She got LHJ and McCall's and Good Housekeeping magazines and would pass them on to my mom. I just loved looking at them. Even though it was long ago and not as antique as your example LOL.

  4. Old magazines and catalogs are fascinating. I have a whole year of Godey's Lady's Book and another of Peterson's Magazine.

  5. I hadn't known it had been around that long, either, Caroline--until I stumbled upon the old one and looked it up. Now I have to look up the electric sink!

  6. I bet that was fun, Celia! I love researching those old appliances. I remember when my grandparents got running water and a bathroom. They lived in Northern MN and I remember using the chamber pot on those nights it was too cold to go outside.

  7. Is Carter the grandson with the yellow curls, Tanya? He's adorable! My grandmother always subscribed to those magazines, too! Loved them!

  8. I bet those are fun to look through Charlene! I especially love the helpful hints sections.

  9. Ohhhh, Lauri! This book of yours looks tantalizing!

    My mom always talked about The Ladies Home Journal. We took a lot of magazines when I was growing up, and I realized later it was because when Mom was a young girl that was their link to the world. Loved this article!


  10. Hi Lauri,

    I hadn't given much thought to the magazines in those days. I am terrible about seeing magazines I want and then I never open them. My hubby reads them - I've got two subscriptions to Scotland - hint, hint - and he reads thempage for page. I still at the covers. I can imagine in the days where we had no electronics to keep our attention, a magazine with all the new things available would be a big draw.


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