From the Archives & Special Collections: The Ladies’ Repository

The Archives & Special Collections has many unique books that give a little glimpse into everyday life at different points in history. One such example of this is The Ladies’ Repository. The Ladies’ Repository was a magazine that was written for women by Methodist ministers, which is particularly interesting considering Puget Sound’s ties to the Methodist Church.

The magazine was published from 1841 to 1876 and started when the idea for a monthly magazine for women was presented by Samuel Williams, a Methodist from Cincinnati, Ohio. He wanted to create a magazine focused on a Methodist mindset for women to read and grow their moral character. The Ladies Repository included illustrations, songs, prose, and poetry, many of which included Methodist teachings and ideas.

In 1853, The Ladies’ Repository hired a new editor, Davis E. Clark. Clark expanded the magazine from one for women only to a magazine that was relevant for the entire family and circulation increased to 40,000 households. After the Civil War (1861-1865), the magazine began to decline and it was replaced by The National Repository in 1876.

The volume in the A&SC includes monthly issues from January through December, 1859. In the January 1859 issue there is an image and article describing the life of Bishop Edward R. Ames by Reverend Thomas Eddy. Many of the articles are written by men for women as a way to educate and inform women. Men weren’t the only contributors though; many women submitted poetry and illustrations to be printed. One example of this is the poem titled “Comfort” by Emily C. Huntington (pg. 6, January 1859).

This volume is one of many that we have in the Archives & Special Collections so if you’re interested in looking at some of our rare books, stop by!

The Archives & Special Collections has drop-in hours on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM or is open by appointment.

By Rowan Coates

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