Date of Award
This thesis explores the two main images of womanhood found in the editorial and advertising contents of the Ladies’ Home Journal, a popular mass-market magazine from the early 20th century. My specific focus is on the year 1919 because several important events that affected American women were prevalent during this time. I place my research about the two images of womanhood in the magazine within the context of WWI’s end and the proximity of women to reaching voting rights. This is a transitional year during which both historical happenings can be discerned by looking “in between the lines” of the Journal’s materials. On one hand, there was the traditional housewife and homemaker ideal which grounded women in domesticity; on the other, the independent “new woman” was emerging.
The bulk of my primary research was done in the New York Public Library archives, where I worked with Volume 36 of the Ladies’ Home Journal. From both the editorial and advertising content, I selected, described and analyzed the examples I deemed representative of the two central feminine ideals. For historical context and information about the tradition of the early women’s magazine, I used multiple secondary sources and scholarly works such as Patricia Okker’s study of Sarah J. Hale’s pioneering editorial career and Jennifer Scanlon’s historical study of the Ladies’ Home Journal. Additionally, I posit that the early women’s magazine tradition allowed women readers to be active participants in the medium. In order to show that the two images of femininity persisted throughout the year, I have explored and mentioned examples from all months throughout 1919 in hopes of achieving a case study of sorts.
Krupitsky, Eva, "An Important Year: Competing Images of Womanhood in the Ladies’ Home Journal, 1919" (2012). American Studies Senior Theses. 22.