AMERICAN WOMAN Magazine Profile

AMERICAN WOMAN apparently began in the late nineteenth century and survived at least into the 1920's. With the May, 1923 issue it changed its name to THE AMERICAN NEEDLEWOMAN, and under that title continued until at least 1927. It has been difficult finding specific information about this title. You can click here to go directly to the gallery of cover images.

This magazine was one of the Augusta, Maine, "mail-order magazines," so-called because they were printed cheaply and sold for very little (or given away) as a way to get advertisements for mail-order goods to the potential customers, namely the housekeeping women all over the country. They were aimed at rural women (as opposed to the urban women who bought DELINEATOR or even LADIES HOME JOURNAL) and in a way provided a lifeline to many of them stuck in remote and lonely farms and villages.

Augusta, Maine, was (surprisingly) a hotbed of magazine publishing a hundred years ago. This title was one of a dozen or more published in this small community. An interesting history of this enterprise may be found at the Maine Women's History Trail website.

AMERICAN WOMAN was printed on cheap pulp paper (think, Newsprint) readily available from the forests and mills around Augusta. It was approximately Folio or Tabloid in size, running 10.9 x 15.3 inches up to and including September 1920, and about 10.9 x 13.5 inches from October 1920. The August 1918 issue contained twenty pages (including covers) and carried a good bit of fiction, notes for Homemakers, how to make a lace yoke, snappy ways to prepare fish for dinner ("Use More Fish"), and lots of advertisements for clothing, books, nostrums, furniture, dress patterns, and pages of premiums available to readers who sold subscriptions to the magazine to their friends and neighbors.

Publishing information (also from the August, 1918 issue) is as follows:
Publisher: Vickery and Hill Publishing Company
Subscriptions: 30 cents a year (50 cents a year to subscribers in Canada and other countries)
Editor: Agnes Cuyler Stoddard
Editors, Special Departments: Mrs. M. M. Hynes, and Emma Chalmers Monroe

Note: As a patriotic gesture, prospective readers could send five three-cent stamps in return for a six-month subscription to the magazine, along with a special nine-color lithograph of "The Spirit of 1918."

The best images in this section are from original covers scanned by Jeff Kaylin, who created and maintains the website devoted to American author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. We also have additional covers at lower image quality, provided to give a better idea of the kinds of covers this magazine used during its run; they come from a variety of sources.


Sources:


Update history:

  • 19 December 2007: Added new information about follow-on title THE AMERICAN NEEDLEWOMAN.
  • 8 January 2007: New version of this document, for new website version.
  • 12 July 2006: Added 31 new and one improved images, including 11 high-resolution images scanned by Jeff Kaylin. Also, thanks to Bakertowne Collectables and the Leeflang Archives for providing a number of images.
  • 28 February 2006: Added 19 images (smaller) for a wider range of issue dates.
  • 14 January 2006: Created the web pages for AMERICAN WOMAN, beginning with 15 high-resolution images scanned by Jeff Kaylin.