Godey’s Lady’s Book

We spent last week in Florida, helping to manage my sweetie’s mom’s transition to assisted living, after she suffered a terrible stroke in February. The new place is very nice, but it was a pretty emotional week. She is/was an antiques dealer, specializing in early American housegoods, so her house was filled with wonderful things. We had to go through and choose what she should keep, what we wanted, and what was to be sold through an estate sale.

Mostly K. went through and chose the items that had significance for him, but I tried to help by choosing things that seemed useful, beautiful, and would be a joy to see and use (and keep his mom in our thoughts and hearts). I’ve known his mom for a long time and she apparently had something special in mind for me, which was a complete surprise and such a treasure: an 1870 copy of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

Now, if you are a Little House On The Prairie fan like I am, you will know immediately what this is. For those who may not have read those books as obsessively as I did, Godey’s Lady’s Book was the women’s magazine that Ma looked forward to looking at (through friends and relatives) to keep herself and her daughters up to fashion. It contained fashion illustrations, patterns, hairstyles, serial novels, recipes, household hints, craft projects, and every manner of print entertainment of the day. The book I have is a collection of the year’s editions (I don’t know how they were distributed monthly, or what) – so it is a real treasure. I told her that I was thrilled to finally see and have my own copy of Godey’s Lady’s book — and, as an extra bonus, the 1870s is around the time (perhaps a few years later) when Ma would have been looking through it.

We took home quite a few wonderful old books. Here’s a few stacked up next to the very sweet Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls my mom made for me, and my very favorite stuffed Mrs. Tittlemouse doll that I could not bear to part with:

IMG_1372A closer look at the titles (the bottom book is a very old edition of Good Housekeeping, which I haven’t explored yet):

IMG_1373A few of the dress styles of 1870:

IMG_1374And some hairstyles and other bits of fashion:

IMG_1375Some “work” (sewing crafts) for in the evening:

IMG_1376And some near-incoherent-to-modern-cooks recipes (my favorite: “A Nice Tart”):

IMG_1377How hot is “a hot oven”?

I could look through this book for hours. It’s completely fascinating. A really, really special gift from a pretty neat lady.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Godey’s Lady’s Book

  1. What a wonderful gift. I hope your sweetie’s mom is comfortable in her new place. It must have been so hard for her trying to decide what to keep and what to give away.

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