Ladies' Home Journal 125th Anniversary: Working
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Ladies' Home Journal 125th Anniversary: Working

 

March 1940 Working women poll
All Hail the Housewife

Ladies' Home Journal has always addressed women who work exclusively in the home as wives and mothers. The support for the homemaker's life choice was evident as early as March 1900, when Editor-in-Chief Edward Bok opined: "The tide of women rushing pell-mell into all kinds of business has been stemmed.... It is simply a return from a false to a normal condition." Another article in the magazine trumpeted: "Let her write her occupation proudly: 'Housewife!'" This photo shows what a readers' poll in March 1940 revealed.

The Factory Frontier
More than a million women were employed in mills and factories during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Working conditions were grim. The notorious Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City, in which 146 female employees perished, was one of many examples of the dangers these establishments posed to women's health and safety. A Ladies' Home Journal article in 1903 described efforts to limit female workers' hours, which ranged from a high of 66 per week in some Southern states to a low of 55 weekly in New Jersey. Children's shifts were comparable to those of adult women.

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