Literary Lady, Complicated Proto-Feminist

Sarah Josepha Hale is known — to the extent that she is remembered at all — as the author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and for her role in lobbying to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. But in her own day she was a widely read writer, tastemaker, and celebrity — nearly everyone in antebellum America felt her influence through her editorship of the country’s foremost periodical for women, Godey’s Lady’s Book.

In her new biography, Lady Editor, Melanie Kirkpatrick brings Hale’s remarkable story vividly to life and makes the case that she deserves to be widely known and appreciated in our day, too.

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