Early Canadian Periodicals digitizes Victorian women's magazines

July 16, 2015
Contact: Daniel Velarde - info@canadiana.ca

Women's magazines

As part of the Early Canadian Periodicals project to digitize all Canadian journals and magazines up to 1920, Canadiana.org continued to work on large volumes of popular early women's publications in 2014-15.

About the collection

Canada's early periodicals provided some of the first means of mass communication among its small and geographically dispersed population, playing an important role in shaping social norms and cultivating shared values and identities. Periodicals are thus prized by scholars in the arts and social sciences as records providing insight into all aspects of social life, and digitized periodicals allow researchers to approach new and old historical questions with access to large and coherent sets of cultural data.

Women's periodicals steadily expanded their readership despite a succession of challenges in the 19th century, becoming a dominant publishing genre in Canada by the early 20th century. The earliest digitized women's periodical is The Mayflower, or, Ladies Acadian Newspaper (9 issues, 1851-52), but the genre did not reach its peak size and influence until the First World War, when Everywoman’s World (35 issues, 1915-23) achieved the widest readership of any magazine in Canada and became the first Canadian periodical to breach the 100,000 household subscription threshold.

Scholars continue to debate the ambiguous role of mass-market women's periodicals in shaping the identities and wider social status of Canadian women: on the one hand, giving voice to women writers and providing a broad forum for content that appealed to women readers; on the other, limiting editorial content to home and family issues, tawdry romances, and marketing for fashion, home appliances, and other consumer goods.

Select titles

• The Young Ladies’ Journal (4 issues 1874, 1875, 1877, 1890) / New York (Canadian ed.)

• The Woman’s Journal (2 issues, 1886, 1893) / Ottawa

La mère et l'enfant (14 issues, 1890-91) / Montréal

• The Ladies' Bazar (8 issues, 1890-91) / Toronto

Ladies' Pictorial Weekly (18 issues, 1892) / Toronto

• The Ladies' Companion (1 issue, 1893) / Toronto

• The Glass of Fashion (3 issues, 1897) / Toronto

• Le coin du feu (43 issues, 1893-96) / Montréal

About Early Canadian Periodicals

Early Canadian Periodicals (ECP) is a long-term project to digitize all periodicals published in Canada before 1920. To ensure a high level of integrity and to support current research needs, collection efforts are reviewed by the scholars, librarians, and archivists of the Advisory Committee.

ECP is funded through individual and institutional subscriptions, as well as by contributions from Canadiana.org members.

Producing specialized sub-collections in women's history has been a focus for Canadiana.org since 1996.