Monday, September 30, 2013

1841 Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine, Fashions and Autography

Many years ago we used to vacation at Maine's Acadia National Park, camping out of a VW Super Beetle. My husband somehow managed to get out our camping needs into that car-- tent, Coleman stove and lantern, cooking gear, hiking boots, and some times we even took along a dachshund!

We liked to look at old book stores we found along the way. After a course in Victorian Studies, which included researching the magazines that flourished in that time, I also enjoyed finding bound magazines.

One Maine shop had a sale, and I picked up two volumes, one being a Graham's Magazine from 1841. It included a two part article by Edgar Allen Poe on autographs, or handwriting analysis. Poe offered  comments on the autographs of 100 famous men of his time. I was not a 'believer' but was a Poe fan. Poe explained that the article was meant to offer autographs of the literati, first as indicative of their character, second as of general interest, and lastly for a means for providing some gossip!

Washington Irving was deemed to be slovenly and unremarkable, which Poe thought was a result of easy fame. I admit I also believe that explosive fame and success too often leads to a writer's being less careful, the publisher less interested in editing, because sales are guaranteed regardless.


Poe thought that both William Cullen's Bryant and John Greenleaf Whittier 'had a clerk's hand. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow showed 'the force and vigor' evident in  his writing .But...Poe also thought his work derivative and unoriginal, while still being proportioned and elegant.

The best part of the volume is the hand colored, Mezzotinto and steel engraving fashion plates.The men all look like Prince Albert. And the women a lot like Queen Victoria.

January 1841

November 1841

September 1841

October 1841

July 1841

August 1841

Also needlework color plates appear.


  1. Thanks for another interesting blog post. I especially enjoyed the color plates of the people in period clothing. Have a super day!