Godey’s Lady’s Book and Regina Scott’s New Release

I will admit to scanning online sites every spring and fall to discover the latest fashions trends. My heroine Beth Wallin in Frontier Matchmaker Bride has a greater passion for fashion, even on the frontier of 1875 Washington Territory. Her go-to source, pictured on the cover of her story, is Godey’s Lady’s Book.

Godey’s was the brainchild of Louis A. Godey, who saw the growing need for a magazine tailored specifically to the lady of the house. He hired a female editor, Sarah J. Hale, herself an author (often remembered for writing “Mary Had a Little Lamb”), who also ensured the rest of the staff was predominantly female. In fact, Godey boasted at having a corps of 150 female colorers who hand-tinted the fashion plates that started every issue.

The early issues of Godey’s carried articles taken from British women’s magazines. The magazine even had its own reporter simply to chronicle royal activities across the Pond. Though Sarah Hale was purportedly a huge fan of Queen Victoria, she wanted more of an American angle for the magazine. She was also a staunch supporter of women’s rights, believing that women needed to be redeemed from their “inferior” position and placed as an equal helpmate to man in every way.

She therefore commissioned articles, essays, stories, and poetry from American writers including Harriet Beecher Stowe and Frances Hodgson Burnett. Male luminaries Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allen Poe, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also contributed. Articles covered health and science, crafts, dancing, horseback riding, home decorating, and recipes. Every issue included two pages of new sheet music for the pianoforte.

And women paid for the privilege of reading it. Subscriptions ran three dollars a year when other popular magazines of the time were only two dollars. The magazine was delivered by post all over the United States, from the gilded mansions on Boston’s Beacon Hill to the rustic ranches of the Texas Hill Country and the log cabins of Seattle.

Despite its broad coverage, Godey’s steered clear of politics. The Civil War was never mentioned in its pages. One source I consulted claimed that readership was cut by a third from its high of 150,000 subscribers during the war, implying that it was because of Godey’s non-political stance. I’m more inclined to believe that the magazine’s subscriptions fell during that time because women were counting pennies as husbands and fathers went off to war.

Regardless, Godey’s popularity led it to become a major force in America. The magazine is credited with popularizing a white wedding gown (after Victoria wore one in England), the use of a Christmas tree to crown that celebration, and the creation of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

It even inspired Beth Wallin to create gowns far above those usually found on the frontier, thanks to a sister-in-law who is a seamstress and her own good taste. This is one of the gowns I pictured for her.


So, do you consider yourself a fashionista? What’s your go-to source?

Answer in the comments to be entered into a drawing for an autographed copy of Beth’s story, Frontier Matchmaker Bride.

The Lawman Meets His Match

Spunky Beth Wallin is determined to find a bride for Deputy Hart McCormick, the man who once spurned her affections.

After tragically losing his sweetheart, Hart vowed never to love again. He might be Beth’s first matchmaking miss, unless they can both admit that she would be his perfect match.

You can find the book on Amazon today: http://www.amazon.com/Frontier-Matchmaker-Bride-Bachelors-ebook/dp/B073B2NKQ3/a?tag=pettpist-20



About the Author

Regina Scott started writing novels in the third grade. Thankfully for literature as we know it, she didn’t actually sell her first Regency romance novel until she had learned a bit more about writing such as vocabulary, sentence structure, and plot. After numerous short stories and articles in magazines and trade journals, she got serious about her novel writing. The Regency romance The Unflappable Miss Fairchild was her first novel to be published (March 1998). In 2011, she was delighted to move into Christian romance with the publication of The Irresistible Earl. Her novels have been translated into Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese; and a large number have been issued in hardcover, large print editions. She has twice won the prestigious RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice award for best historical Christian romance of its type, for The Heiress’s Homecoming in 2013 and Would-Be Wilderness Wife in 2015.

Connect with her online at her website or sign up for her newsletter.

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49 thoughts on “Godey’s Lady’s Book and Regina Scott’s New Release”

  1. I haved been a fashionita in years because I live on disabilty income and I’m a single mother. I was once upon a time. I was in management for Dillard’s when I was young so fashion was a must and I loved shopping back then. I wish I could afford to be a fashionista again but I live in a rural community and I’m home the majority of the time. What an awesome blog! I loved the history lesson. Wow Sarah was way ahead of her time in feminism! I had never heard of this magazine!

  2. I am not a fashionista. I get several clothing magazines and used them. I have heard of Godey’s before but never read such a concise accounting of it. thanks

  3. I am not a fashionable at all. My clothes come from Wal-Mart and I go for the confort side of life. It doesn’t matter to me what I wear as long as it is clean and confortable.

  4. Not a fashionista at all! My husband picks out my clothes as he is color-coordinated. I have no clue what goes with what lol. If I had my way, I’d wear jeans and t-shirts all the time!

    • Good for your husband, Sally! Mine is color-blind–not sure what he’d suggest I wear, but he always says I look great, even when I haven’t even combed my hair yet in the morning. 🙂

  5. Good morning, Regina……Welcome back to P&P! We love having you visit. Great blog. I’ve always been fascinated with Godey’s Ladies Book. I’m sure the housewives and pioneer women loved it. Finally, something for them. It sure took a long time for someone to realize women needed this.

    Congrats on the new release. I’m hooked.

  6. My fashion taste consists of Clearance Items at JC Penney’s What ever I can find for 70 percent or more off I buy. Tuesday I went and got 4 shirts and a light jacket for 22 dollars.

  7. I’m so looking forward to this book! I’ve been waiting for Beth’s story, I think Love Inspired for the cover just right 🙂

    I’m not a fashionista, and I live in a small town so our options for clothing stores are limited (we don’t even have a Walmart). Most places are very expensive! I’ve only bought nice church clothes from Van Huesen when they have major sales or Ross. I do like to get a new Spring dress from Dress Barn if the price is within my budget. I love the clearance racks…lol! It’s hard when you don’t have a big budget and you have to watch every penny.

    Thank you for the giveaway, Regina! And for the history lesson on Godey’s Lady’s Book.

    • I just noticed my typo in the second sentence! It’s supposed to read “I think Love Inspired got the cover just right!”

    • I’m a value shopper here for sure, Trixi. Most of my wardrobe comes from second-hand stores. (Sh–don’t tell anyone. ;-)) And I agree–the cover is exactly what I was hoping for.

    • You and me both, Cheryl. But I’m getting to the age *cough-cough* where I know what works for me and what doesn’t, so I can admire pretty clothes but not be inclined to purchase because I know I’m never going to look that good in them!

  8. Regina, it’s so nice to have you visit the junction. I’m no fashionista, but I do love, love jewelry. This last Christmas my college age grandson wanted to know what to get me for Christmas. I told him jewelry, the gaudier the better. He said he did exactly that but I love, love the necklace. I’ve never worn it when I didn’t get several compliments. I watch a lot of Hallmark Movies, and noticed that a lot of the bolder necklaces are coming back into style, along with some fashions I certainly remember. Again, thanks for coming for a visit and I really enjoyed our blog. Hugs, Phyliss

    • Thanks, Phyliss. I envy you the ability to accessorize with jewelry. Jewelry and scarves really dress up an outfit, but I’m never sure exactly what to put with what, and scarves always fall off. Very thankful for these infinity scarves. At least I know they aren’t going to fall off and get lost!

  9. Having raised 7 children I was always into jeans tee shirts Of course on the rear occasion me and the husband went out I had my nicer clothes. Enjoyed your post.. I love reading about history.

  10. I remember my mother had a large square , gray folder with four prints from Godey’s . They were fashions from the four seasons of a group iof ladies. A blue ribbon tied it shut.
    I don’t consider myself a fashionista. I go for hopefully well fitting, classic styles, but with my favorite colors that flatter me. I still try to be current with colors and a few styles. I do bead jewelry so I can keep up with the trends that way and match bracelets and earrings to my wardrobe.
    Thanks for the post.

  11. Great blog on Godey’s. I would love to read it. Thank you! As for being a fashionista, not me. Maybe one or both of my X chromosomes was damaged. 🙂 Others have already said comfort (and texture for me) is primary, followed by color and cost, which is true for me. My big choices of the day are usually between jeans, turtlenecks, t-shirts, flannel shirts and nightgowns. For the past year, nightgowns have been the hands-down winners this past frigid winter, along about six blankets. Warmth and comfort beat style hands down. Besides, I’d rather buy books than clothes.

    • Thanks, Eliza! I agree completely–books before clothes. I have one part of a closet for clothes, but four ceiling-high bookcases (and several smaller ones) crammed with books. 🙂

  12. I don’t go for all the latest trends when dressing, but I do try to be aware of the trends. Loved the info on Godey’s. I have heard of that magazine in the past.

  13. I am really not much of a fashionista. I rarely buy anything because it is fashionable. At home, I am more interested in comfort and tend to wear what ever I can grab. I do like to look nice when I go out, but keep it simple dressing it up with scarves and jewelry.
    I enjoy looking at the old fashion plates. The dresses and styles are interesting. It is nice to see how styles have changed over the years. It is interesting to see how the styles reflect societal changes.

    • Studying fashion plates can really teach us a lot, Patricia, as you noted. Not only the fashion but the colors, what the ladies were doing, the backgrounds behind them–all give us glimpses of the past.

  14. I have to admit, I do love fashion. But not that high dollar big designer brands. I have learned to buy trendy stuff as lower priced stores. But there is one brand that I do stay loyal to and always love when new stuff comes out. I save my money back for it.

    • Sounds like we have similar approaches to fashion, Janine. I follow trends and then look for ways to mimic them for less money. When I was traveling a lot, I had a brand I was loyal to as well. It’s nice to have some place you can count on for go-to styles.

  15. I am definitely not a fashionista. Do not enter me in the drawing. I already have a copy. This is such a good book.

  16. Thanks for all your comments, my dears! I’ll reply to each separately, but wanted you to know why I didn’t answer sooner. After the fillies invited me to guest-blog, I learned I had to go on travel on the 16th. I was up in the air most of the day, so I couldn’t respond until now. Thank you for your patience and understanding. And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  17. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I enjoyed reading this post and I’ve found that Goodwill stores and consignment shops are great places to find pretty, fashionable clothing at affordable prices.
    Thanks for your giveaway and Blessings!

  18. I am past a fashionista now. Comfort is the name of the game! Thank you for sharing your great post! Happy St. PATRICK’S Day!

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