Why Women Read

The Bookshelf of Emily J.

The subtitle of this post is “In the Nineteenth Century.” During that time, there were, apparently, many types of readers and stereotypes about women who read. Today, I’ll share eight of those types of female readers with you from Patricia Okker’s book Our Sister Editors: Sarah J. Hale and the Tradition of Nineteenth-Century American Women Editors (1995).  Okker’s book has a section devoted to the rise of literacy among women of the nineteenth century. It reminded me of a beautiful book of postcards called The Reading Woman that my good friend Amy gave me for Christmas. The images on the postcards are historical images of women as readers as painted by some of the masters.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

In Okker’s study of women editors, she noted that “the woman reader was not seen as particularly beneficial to society, but she also posed no social threats” (p. 113). Here are eight of the ways…

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