Ellery Yale Wood was especially interested in collecting books meant specifically for girls and young women. This week we have unpacked numerous magazines and annuals. One of these is the Girl’s Realm Annual, a yearly compilation of the monthly Girl’s Realm, over a thousand pages long and bound beautifully to make it suitable as a Christmas present. This Edwardian era publication (it was printed from 1898 until 1915) was lively and well-illustrated. It carried stories about successful women, sports, nature, career options, and handicrafts, as well as puzzles, poetry, and fiction, much of it by well-known authors. Some of the literature was short stories, but there was also usually a serial story, which would have appeared in each month’s issue, but which in the annual appears every 80 pages or so.
Advertising for the Girl’s Realm described it as “an up-to-date, high-class magazine, made bright, amusing, interesting, and instructive.” It was self-consciously modern, and addressed girls within the framework of the New Woman: educated, independent, career- as well as family-oriented, interested in sports and the out of doors, socially informed and involved. Some of the stories are romance, but many of them are adventure; the girls in the stories tended to be courageous -sometimes to the point of foolhardiness, patriotic, and strong; there are frequent articles on “girl heroines”. At the same time, the magazine expected its readers to be ladylike and eager to take their places within marriages and society. The editorial attitude toward women’s suffrage is telling: the magazine was generally in favor or women’s rights, but it could not countenance the unfeminine behavior of the more militant activists.
Here are some additional pages from the 1902, 1906, and 1911 editions, to give a flavor of the whole.