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A Journal for Every Lady

A Journal for Every Lady

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While off searching for some WWI knitting patterns, I came across the delightful Everylady’s Journal.

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The beautiful header for the Everylady’s Journal 1916, extracted from the State Library of Victoria collection

Everylady’s Journal was published monthly from 1911 - 1938, but began life as The New Idea: A Woman’s Journal for Australasia in 1902. In August 1902 there was an article in the ‘Evelyn Observer, and South and East Bourke Record’ which wrote with great satisfaction about the final arrival of an Australian-made women’s magazine.

One million women in Australia, and not a decently printed, well-filled journal that may be called their own!…But the blank is to be filled at last, and adequately filled, too, by “The New Idea.” 29 August 1902, p. 6.

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The New Idea magazine vol. 1, no. 1, Monash University collection

The news article heralding the arrival of Australasia’s first homegrown women’s magazine, writes:

It’s matter may not satisfy the blue stocking or the lady of mannish tendencies; yet it is entirely free from the stupid sensationalism of the “Lord-and-Milkmaid” order which permeates the flood of cheap English and American journals which pour , each week into the Commonwealth and New Zealand. 29 August 1902, p. 6.

The New Idea contained articles on women’s suffrage, alongside discussions about diet, sewing patterns and tips and tricks for the housewife and young lady. From 1911 The New Idea became the Everylady’s Journal. In 1912 an article appeared in the ‘Kilmore Free Press’ announcing the arrival of the new title. It too commented on the comparatively recent production of local magazines and attributed the success of the Everylady’s Journal to the fact that it catered for local tastes and had a local appeal.

Today, a wise intelligent housewife finds time, not only to keep abreast of her husband in general literary matters, but makes herself a better manager, a brighter wife, and a wiser mother, by closely reading one or more of the splendid magazines now published for the women in the home. 8 August 1912, p.2.

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Everylady’s Journal September 1916, State Library of Victoria collection

While there are pages and pages to write about the social and cultural impacts of these magazines, (not to mention the misnomer of the title Everylady) what really tickled my interest in reading through the 1916 issues, were the advertisements. Below is just a sample of what I found.

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The Everylady’s Journal became New Idea from 1938, and the magazine still exists today. While I’m not sure New Idea today has quite the same objects or appeal as it’s predecessors, it is clear some things - like our obsession with women’s physical appearances - never change.

If you want to know, you can read through past issues of the Everylady’s Journal at the State Library of Victoria.

Everylady’s Journal and the earlier New Idea magazines are also available at the State Library of New South Wales