Meanwhile, back at  Blue Thread:

The smell of fresh bread lured me to the kitchen the next morning. Mrs. Jenkins…set the [sourdough] starter aside and served us coffee. “Ladies’ Home Journal is against women voting. Big magazine like that, who am I to say otherwise?”

December 1883 issue

Starting as a one-page supplement to Cyrus Curtis’s Tribune and Farmer, Mrs. Jenkins’ favorite magazine took on a separate identity in 1883 as The Ladies Home Journal and Practical Housekeeper. A year’s subscription cost 50 cents. Louisa Knapp Curtis, the publisher’s wife, was its first editor.  She shortened the name a few years later and turned the newspaper format into the magazine format we’d recognize today.

Mrs. Jenkins was right (why am I not surprised?). By 1903, Ladies’ Home Journal boasted a huge circulation of over one million readers. There were only about 80 million people in the United States back then.

February 1912 issue

Although the magazine did publish articles that supported voting rights for women, the editorial policy was against suffrage.

In 1946, the magazine first issued its slogan: never underestimate the power of a woman. The magazine still uses that slogan and now has an estimated circulation of 3.3 million readers—not counting those who read the LHJ on line. Time magazine has about 3.4 million readers, and Seventeen about two million.

Want to see more covers from the old magazines? If you’re lucky and LHJ hasn’t pulled the Web page, click here.

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