Food Fact, May 2: Good Housekeeping Hits 127

Photo: GranniesKitchen/Flickr

On this day in…

Good Housekeeping begins publication.

(© 2011 Michael V. Hynes)

The Backstory
We in New England can proudly claim Good Housekeeping, that icon of a women’s interests magazine, as our own. The magazine was founded May 2, 1885, by Clark W. Bryan in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

In 1910, the headquarters of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute (GHRI) formally opened. This included the Model Kitchen, the Domestic Science Laboratory and the Testing Station for Household Devices, where those products vying for the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval (with its 2-year limited warranty) met their glory or their doom.

By 1911, GH had gained a circulation of 300,000 (the Hearst Corporation bought it at this time). By 1966, circulation had grown to 5,500,000 readers.

Did you know the social activism history of this publication? A mouthpiece for healthy living, Good Housekeeping advocated “pure food” as early as 1905, a catalyst in the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906. The magazine prohibited cigarette ads from its pages in 1952, a full decade before cigarette packs were required to carry the Surgeon General’s warning labels.

Just google “Good Housekeeping” and you’ll be impressed, but not truly surprised: 100 Best Chicken Recipes; 100 Best Dessert Recipes; 100 Best Italian Recipes, Best Recipes (in general); Best Cookie Recipes, so on and so forth. Culinary matters aside, however, this magazine documents the cultural development of our country, our women, within its pages.

How many of you still subscribe to GH? Do you look for its Seal of Approval when buying kitchen devices? Is the magazine a bible of sorts for you? For what? Or, does Good Housekeeping make you miss your grandmother…