Home  »  Volume XVI: American EARLY NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART II LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART I  »  § 12. Philadelphia: Godey’s Lady’s Book; Graham’s Magazine

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

XX. Magazines, Annuals, and Gift-books, 1783–1850

§ 12. Philadelphia: Godey’s Lady’s Book; Graham’s Magazine

Godey’s Lady’s Book, long the most popular of a class of magazines that has flourished in Philadelphia, was founded by Louis A. Godey in 1830, though not until after Mrs. Sarah J. Hale assumed the editorship in 1837 did it attain its greatest vogue. The success of the Lady’s Book was largely due to its coloured fashion plates and a quantity of light and sentimental poetry and fiction, but its financial success enabled it to make seductive offers to distinguished writers, and it secured occasional contributions from Poe, Longfellow, Holmes, and others.

A later Philadelphia magazine was Graham’s, established in 1841 by the union of The Casket, which had formerly been owned by George R. Graham and Charles J. Peterson, and Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, a monthly now remembered chiefly because Poe was for a time associate editor. Poe retained for something over a year a similar position on the new Graham’s Magazine, and among his successors was the Rev. Rufus W. Griswold. The magazine achieved great popularity, and is said for a time to have brought its owner large financial returns. According to a somewhat dubious tradition its decline began when Graham published a harshly unfavourable review of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Among the contributors to Graham’s in its best days were Cooper, Longfellow, Lowell, Hawthorne, and Simms.