Lady Editor: Reviews

Before there was Anna Wintour, there was Sarah Josepha Hale, one of the most influential magazine editors of the nineteenth century. Thanks to Melanie Kirkpatrick, Hale finally has the biography she deserves–richly detailed and marvelously written.

–Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Travels With George and Mayflower

Sarah Josepha Hale’s belief in the potential of women transformed the world of opportunities for women today. As editor of the popular Godey’s Lady’s Book, Hale championed women’s education, women in the workplace, and women’s often-undervalued work in the home. Teachers and doctors should be particularly grateful for her steadfast commitment to encouraging women to enter these occupations. Extensively researched and beautifully written, Melanie Kirkpatrick’s Lady Editor is an important and inspiring portrait of an extraordinary American.

–Elaine Chao, former Secretary of Transportation and Labor, the first Asian-American woman to be appointed to the President’s cabinet, and a Distinguished Fellow at Hudson Institute

Think of Sarah Josepha Hale as the great enabler of 19th-century American literature. As the formidable editor of the Ladies Magazine and then Godey’s Lady’s Book, Hale gave the careers of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frances Hodgson Burnett and Lydia Sigourney their start, and fanned the flames of Longfellow, Whittier, and Edgar Allan Poe. Death and necessity were the fosterers of her talent, but her talent made American letters buzz. Philanthropy, monuments, Christmas trees and Abraham Lincoln all fell within her orbit. And how appropriate that a fellow journalist, Melanie Kirkpatrick, should bring Hale back in view in this lively and intriguing biography of the first-among-equals of American women.

–Allen C. Guelzo, Princeton University, author of the New York Times
best-seller Gettysburg: The Last Invasion

Sarah Josepha Hale was responsible for nothing less than legitimizing the American fashion industry and making permanent the most cherished of American holidays. Yet this powerful tastemaker and groundbreaking voice for “ladies”—so influential in both publishing and politics that she must rank as the Anna Wintour of the 19th century—has been all but erased from history.  Fortunately, Melanie Kirkpatrick has rescued Hale from obscurity in an absolutely splendid biography that deserves a major place on the bookshelves of anyone interested in the neglected superstars of the nation’s past.

–Harold Holzer, winner of the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize
for Lincoln and the Power of the Press

Kirkpatrick has dusted off the cobwebs — uncovering a mind worth encountering and an American life worth honoring.

–Katherine Howell, National Review