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Jennifer Phegley
University of Missouri System (Kansas City, MO 64110-2235)
Magazine Mavericks: Marital Collaborations and the Invention of New Reading Audiences in Mid-Victorian England

Completion of a book-length study on the history of periodical publishing and its readership in 19th-century England.

This project examines eight mass-market magazines launched by John Maxwell and Samuel Beeton in mid-nineteenth-century London. In collaboration with their domestic partners Mary Braddon, Isabella Beeton, and later Beeton’s neighbor Matilda Browne, these entrepreneurial couples built small but mighty publishing empires using innovative niche-marketing techniques to reach new groups of readers. Defying the conventional wisdom of aiming for the broadest audience to generate the greatest profit, these publisher-author teams appealed to more specific interests and identities than the widely accepted categories of class and sex. With magazines for struggling Bohemians, adventurous boys, style-conscious housewives, and independence-seeking teenage girls they transformed notions of what constituted a viable audience. These popular but neglected magazines are emblematic of a publishing revolution that by the end of the century catered to everyone from bicyclists to anarchists.

Project fields:
British Literature; Gender Studies; Media Studies

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2019 – 8/31/2019