One February 16, 1883, The Ladies Home Journal was published for the first time. By 1903, it had reached 1 million subscribers and was one of a group of women’s service magazines called the Seven Sisters, which include Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, McCall’s, Redbook and Woman’s Day. These magazines were traditionally aimed at women who were homemakers and achieved their highest subscription rates during the 1960s and 1970s.
The Ladies Home Journal, published by the Meredith Corporation, began as a one page supplement to the magazine Tribune and Farmer titled Women at Home. It was written by Louisa Knapp Curtis, wife of the Tribune’s publisher and became an independent publication after a year. The Journal was the most popular of the “Sisters” until it was surpassed by McCall’s in 1961. Its success can be attributed to low subscription rates, due in part to advertising, and popular content.
Over the years, the content included columns and feature articles, government information for housewives during World War II, and features by Sarah Tyson Rorer, one of the most famous cooking teachers of her time. From 1895 to 1926, it also included illustrations by William Ladd Taylor. One popular column was “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” by Dorothy D. MacKaye and Paul Popenoe, a marriage counselor.
Although the Journal’s subscriber rates remained high, it became increasingly difficult to obtain advertising as its target audience aged. In July 2014, it ended monthly publication. It is now a quarterly special interest magazine available on newsstands only, and they maintain an official website.
Find out what else happened on February 16 in Women’s History.