Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pretend you are a Victorian lady...

Happy Sunday to all!

Let's pretend you are a Victorian lady living in 1876. It is the centennial year of our nation. And, being the typical woman that you are, you can't wait to have a few moments to sit down in your parlor and read your new copy of Peterson's Magazine. If you did live in that period, this would likely be one of the magazines that you might read. It was published between 1842 and 1898, and it was committed to publishing works by women writers. Peterson's, along with Godey's Lady's Book, dominated the women's magazine market during this period. Peterson's was launched as a cheaper alternative to Godey's at $2 per year, instead of $3.

I found one quite by accident on eBay. It includes the12 issues of 1876, bound into one volume. About 800 pages worth! I am doing a little more research, but it seems as though they were often bound for a particular person, and many I saw had the owner's name engraved on the front. I'm not sure if the individual issues, which I think were in a larger format, were later sold as bound books, or if the owner had her own issues bound.

Sadly, you often you see these books and individual issues scalped by buyers and ripped apart to capitalize on selling individual prints from them at high prices, sort of what they do with botanical prints. My feeling? Unless they were purchased in deplorable condition, they should remain as they are. After all, like our beloved cabinet cards, they have survived for more than 100 years, and they should live on. When they're gone, they're gone.

I thought that this particular year would be interesting since it was our centennial (as well as having been printed 100 years before my daughter was born), so below are a few pictures that I would like to share with you. If I can get the book to lie flat on my scanner bed, I will try to scan a few nice pages for you and share them in a future post. In the meantime, click on this pictures. Seeing the detail will be worth it!

The binding...

A black and white engraving on the left.
Tissue paper is on the right, and it protects...

the colored fold-out engraving on the right.
Ladies fashions of the day.
These are the ones that the folks rip out and sell.
What a shame...

The engravings were created especially for each issue,
and each issue had only one that was colored.
There are 12 in my book.
Another black and white engraving...

...and another...

Below is a black and white,
next to one of the colored pages...

Each issue also included children's fashions... about some swim wear...

And of course, the latest in hairstyles...

...and needlework...

...and recipes.
Note that you just put the meat, larded with "fat bacon"
in the oven. No temperature given. The ovens were either
hot or not...

Pretty poems...

...and nice stories...

...along with sheet music...

...and of course, advertisements!
The beauty: Only this one page at the end of each issue.
Fancy that!

This is such a treasure. Oh, and the possibilities for art projects! And that it survived in almost mint condition, with the pages being very thin, is incredible. Even the tissue paper protecting the colored pages is in perfect condition. Its front page tells me that a man, no less, purchased this in 1935. He obviously valued it.

Where will my latest issue of Country Living be 140 years from now???

I hope that you have a great week.


  1. Hello Sue
    What an absolutely stunning "magazine" from 1876.
    You were so lucky to come upon this!
    All of the images have photographed so well from it on your blog. It would be lovely to see more!
    Hope all is well in your world!

    1. I will share more. I hope everything is well in your corner of the world too! XO

  2. What a gorgeous antique book you have in your possession! The images are brilliant. Each one if a treat to see. I also love seeing old recipes with "lard" as the ingredient. Thank you for sharing your beautiful treasure with us!

    1. Though not healthy, I still think that the best pie crust is made with lard!


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