CIBH Victorian Publishing Industry

Marissa Joseph - The Victorian publishing industry

Household Words: Professional Women’s Writing in Domestic Magazines 1850 – 1900 is my current research project which aims to explore how women circumvented gender cultural and social barriers to become respected writers and earn a living from selling their literature. Domestic writing (books and articles on cooking, fashion, etiquette, etc.) enabled more women to have a space in the publishing industry, and granted them some editorial power. Drawing on archival documents and periodical publications, the project examines editors and writers such as Willa Cather (1873 – 1947) editor of Home Monthly and Isabella Beeton (1836 – 1865) founder of The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine first published in 1860. Beeton went on to became an authority on cooking and domestic home management and her book Mrs Beeton’s Household Management is still in print today. This research project has received funding from the Barnett Foundation. 


Marisa Joseph’s research focuses on the formation of business practices in the Victorian publishing industry, in particular examining how socio-cultural influences enable and constrain how individuals made strategic decisions. Her research focuses predominately on authors, publishers and literary agents collectively referred to as literary businesses, through an analysis of primary and archival sources, in particular trade periodicals, personal letters and business documents.