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Wed Nov 21, 2012, 08:00 PM

a biography of the day-sarah josepha hale

Sarah Josepha Hale

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (October 24, 1788 - April 30, 1879) was an American writer and an influential editor. She is the author of the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb". She famously campaigned for the creation of the American holiday known as Thanksgiving, and for the completion of the Bunker Hill Monument.
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Her novel, published in the U.S. under the title Northwood: Life North and South and in London under the title A New England Tale, made her one of the first American women novelists and one of the first of either gender to write a book about slavery. The book, which espoused New England virtues as the model to follow for national prosperity, was immediately successful.[5] The novel supported the relocation of the nation's African slaves to the colony of Liberia. In her introduction to the second edition (1852), Hale wrote; "The great error of those who would sever the Union rather than see a slave within its borders, is, that they forget the master is their brother, as well as the servant; and that the spirit which seeks to do good to all and evil to none is the only true Christian philanthropy." The premise of her book was that while slavery hurts and dehumanizes slaves absolutely, it also dehumanizes the masters and retards the psychological, moral and technological progress of their world.

The book garnered praise from Reverend John Blake, who asked Hale to move to Boston to serve as the editor of his journal, the Ladies' Magazine.[6] She agreed and from 1828 until 1836 served as editor in Boston, though she preferred the title "editress".[1] Hale hoped the magazine would help in educating women, as she wrote, "not that they may usurp the situation, or encroach on the prerogatives of man; but that each individual may lend her aid to the intellectual and moral character of those within her sphere".[5] Her collection Poems for Our Children, which includes "Mary Had a Little Lamb" (originally titled "Mary's Lamb", was published in 1830.[7][8] The poem was written for children, an audience for which many women poets of this period were writing.[9]
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Louis Antoine Godey of Philadelphia wanted to hire Hale as the editor of his journal Godey's Lady's Book. He bought the Ladies' Magazine, now renamed American Ladies' Magazine, and merged it with his journal. In 1837 Hale began working as editor of the expanded Godey's Lady's Book but insisted she edit from Boston while her youngest son, William, attended Harvard College.[11] She remained editor at Godey's for forty years, retiring in 1877 when she was almost 90.[12] During her tenure at Godey's, several important women contributed poetry and prose to the magazine, including Lydia Sigourney, Caroline Lee Hentz, Elizabeth F. Ellet, and Frances Sargent Osgood.[13] Other notable contributors included Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Washington Irving, James Kirke Paulding, William Gilmore Simms, and Nathaniel Parker Willis.[14] During this time, she became one of the most important and influential arbiters of American taste.[15] In its day, Godey's, with no significant competitors, had an influence unimaginable for any single publication in the 21st century. The magazine is credited with an ability to influence fashions not only for women's clothes, but also in domestic architecture. Godey's published house plans that were copied by home builders nationwide.

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