The Ladies' Wreath


The Ladies’ Wreath (New York: Martyn & Ely, 1846-1855). Monthly. Graphic Arts collection GAX 2004-0010M



For one dollar a year from 1846 to 1855, you might have subscribed to the monthly journal The Ladies Wreath. Each issue included 36 pages of text, a steel engraving, and one hand-colored flower print. Sometimes there were a few pages of music. 25,000 New Yorkers did subscribe to this journal, edited by Sarah Towne Smith Martyn, a retired temperance activist.

At the end of the first year, Martyn published a word to her readers. “In our initial number, issued May, 1846, we pledged ourselves to the publication of a work, whose moral, as well as literary character, should be such as to entitle it to the confidence of every friend of a pure literature throughout the land. This pledge has, we feel assured, been fully redeemed.”

“We commenced this work … without a subscriber, and now our subscription list numbers between six and seven thousand, and is rapidly increasing… . The expense of getting up our Magazine, in the superior style in which it is issued, and of the plates and flowers, is so great, in proportion to the extremely low price at which it is offered, that less than ten thousand subscribers will not support it. We have made arrangements for the coming year, which will render the Wreath still more valuable, by adding a short botanical department, for the benefit of our fair readers who love and cultivate flowers. No expense or trouble will be spared to render the work still more worthy the popularity it has already gained; and in return, we trust our subscribers will not only continue with us another year, but wherever practicable, exert their influence with others in our behalf.”

Special thanks to Michael Heist, Senior Bibliographic Specialist, for finding the missing issues to our collection.