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Word Count: 1,074
The piece of primary prescriptive literature for women that I chose to examine appeared in the Godeys Ladys Book which was a monthly publication that circulated from 1830 to 1898 The magazine was intended to entertain inform and educate the women of America In addition to extensive fashion descriptions and plates the early issues included biographical sketches articles about mineralogy handcrafts female costume the dance equestrienne procedures health hygiene recipes remedies etc The magazine later became an important literary publication with essays poems short stories and articles by many famous 19th century authors Today the magazine provides a great deal of information on the ideal roles and social deportment of women in the 19th century For this paper I chose to focus on a letter that appeared in the February 1888 edition of the Godeys Ladys Book This letter is a womans response to her nieces request to have her present the young girl to society Although the aunt explains that she would be unable to perform this request she does give a great deal of advice to her young niece about how to make her debut in society The aunt takes many factors into consideration when offering the young debutante advice on how to make her entrance into society and the most important of all factors appears to be income The aunt describes several options for a social event where the young girl can be presented to society ranging from a fancy debutante ball to a more intimate afternoon reception However she warns that such events are costly and that Nothing is more vulgar than to entertain in a style out of proportion to ones means and there is nothing at which the world is so sure to laugh beware of exciting the envy and scorn of your circle of acquaintances as you will certainly do if you try to make a great show and begin your society career on
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