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Sara Hale and The Ladies Magazine

            Sarah Hale was a very impressive woman; her life story is an underrated version of the American dream (another middle class totem, which she is not directly responsible for). Hale was able to raise herself from family tragedy and relative destitution, to wide fame and financial security. As the female editor of the Ladies Magazine she edited a "magazine by women for women" (p.102), and became an important voice in defining (female) middle class values and mores in a changing America.
             Sarah Hale's definition of the woman's sphere embraced numerous positive and aspirational messages. The Ladies Magazine focused on female improvement and education, and Hale took care to frame her calls for female empowerment in terms of how females could better serve men - 'infiltration not agitation was the Ladies Magazine style' (p.104). The heart of Hale's 'influence' world view was the belief that while men outwardly looked like they dominated society, women quietly directed an influence that far outweighed their role and that they could eventually impact and direct the course of events in a real way. In Hale's view the home was the primary domain of women and was where they needed to make sure things were right. A key part of this was their role in raising children. Hale also spoke up for female education, again as something to help support husbands and men, but also as a means for women to find a vocation (and potentially earn independent income in times of strife).
             Hale's conception of the woman's sphere also had its antagonistic elements. Hale was fervently against the striving- pecuniary world of men and urged her (female) readers to strive for more, especially in the home. In addition she was also against political or public agitation, she was not a fan of Frances White, and did not support the abolitionists because she believed their role was too prominent. In keeping with her idea of female influence, she was willing to support the ACS and raised funds for a orphanage in Liberia.

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