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Thumbing Through the Pages No More

After 131 years, the women’s magazine, Ladies Home Journal, is suspending monthly publication. The July/August 2014 issue is its last.

The magazine was launched in 1883 featuring practical information on mothering, marriage, and housekeeping. The publication evolved with the times and changes in women’s lifestyles and was on the forefront of current issues of the day.

In 1904 it helped campaign for regulation of medicines sold in the United States which helped lead to the creation of the Food and Drug Act. LHJ also was the first to cover women’s cancer prevention (1913), risky maternity procedures in hospitals (1930s), the amount of money spent on presidential campaigns (1940), and drafting women in noncombat roles (1951).

The magazine also featured noted writers including Helen Keller, Frank Lloyd Wright, Louisa May Alcott, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Truman Capote, Norman Rockwell, and even both President Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt.

This month’s feature articles include getting the best price on everything you buy, what might be interfering with a good night’s sleep, how to identify skin cancer, and ways to keep your marriage strong. These articles would have been of interest over most of the publication’s history. How we write and the amount of factual data necessary to substantiate a story may have changed over the years, but I don’t believe the fundamental interests relevant to women have.

Sure there are the trends in styles, the considerable changes due to technology, and the struggles for women in the workforce, but the issues deep in our hearts remain the same. Most women’s lives still center on marriage (or a solid relationship), children, and a happy home. At all ages and lifestyles, we cook, clean, and relate to our loved ones.

The challenge of successful and profitable publications is many in this digital age, so we will continue to see more and more of our favorite magazines and newspapers discontinuing hard copy production. This is too bad because there is a sensual difference between reading online and holding that magazine in our hands.

Thank you, Ladies Home Journal, for hanging in there for so long and helping generations of women live a fuller, happier life through your hard copy magazine.Ladies Home Journal for hanging in there for so long and helping generations of women live a fuller, happier life through your hard copy magazine.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

Please note: Special issues will be available on newsstands.

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