Sarah Josepha Hale and the Godey Girls

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The documentary features Sarah Josepha Hale as editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, America’s most popular 19th-century magazine for women, known as the “Victorian Bible of the Parlor.” Hale’s fifty-year editorial campaign for women’s improvement promoted higher education, professional careers and social reform for women.

Sarah Josepha Hale

“I must bid farewell to my countrywomen,
with the hope that this work of half a
century may be blessed to the furtherance
of their happiness and usefulness.“

Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879)

Sarah Josepha Hale's Achievements:

  • Wrote "Mary Had a Little Lamb"
  • Convinced Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday
  • Supported her friend Matthew Vassar, in starting a college for women
  • Organized one of America's first all-women fundraisers called "Ladies Fair,"
    which raised money for the completion of Bunker Hill Monument
  • Established the Fatherless & Widows Society of Boston, helped foster the
    Seaman's Aid Society & the Merchant Marine Library Association,
    supported the Boston Ladies Peace Society and child welfare
  • Wrote books about manners, cooking and housekeeping,
    seven volumes of poetry, and six volumes of fiction
  • Compiled a book that recognized over two thousand women writers
    from the earliest recorded history of women’s literary activity
  • Reviewed thousands of books, wrote hundreds of editorials,
    and edited over two dozen books
  • Served on the Board of Lady Managers at the Philadelphia
    School of Design for Women (Moore School of Art & Design)
Godey's Lady's BookGodey’s Lady’s Book was famous for the stunning Victorian fashion plates hand-painted by Philadelphia women. The magazine was published during the time when Philadelphia was considered the publishing center of America.

The film will show places of significance relevant to Hale’s life listed in the National Register of Historic Places established by The Department of the Interior; Richard’s Free Library & Sarah Josepha Hale Room, former Town Hall & Court House where the annual Hale Award is presented, Bunker Hill Monument, “Walk Her Way” Heritage Trail, Quincy Market, and Laurel Hill Cemetery, location of the SJH tombstone and the Godey Monument.
View photo gallery.

Special Thanks:
David Greathouse, Great-great grandson of Sarah Josepha Hale, Catherine Palmer Lord, Martine Aceves-Foster, Professor Carol Beresiwsky, Carol K. Bass, Ph.D, Mary Jill Ackerman, Nani Bacon, Joyce Yukawa, Ph.D, and Dana L. Watson, Ph.D.

Fiscal Sponsor:

                Women Make Movies

Pennsylvania Humanities Council  Sundance Institute  National Women's History Project  Missouri Western State University

For information about the film, how to donate, and web page sponsorship,
contact Dr. MJ Lewis at or (808) 689-4225

Copyright © 2007 Sarah Josepha Hale Film •   A Nineteenth-Century Documentary about Sarah Josepha Hale

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