On this day in 1885 a new magazine was founded by Clark W. Bryan in Holyoke, Massachusetts. It was designed for women, with articles about family life, household products, health, recipes and literature. The first edition was titled For the Homes of the World: Good Housekeeping. it aimed to be:
“a family journal conducted in the interests of the higher life of the household” with a “mission to fulfill compounded of about equal portions of public duty and private enterprise…to produce and perpetuate perfection as may be obtained in the household.”
The magazine reviewed products and featured articles about food with the clear aim of seeing past manufacturers claims and getting to the truth for consumers. A campaign was started against false claims made in the food industry in the form of an article called “Guard Against Adulteration.”
This led to the creation of the Good Housekeeping Experiment Station in 1900 to study housekeeping and test and rate products and food. They went on to develop the “Roll of Honor for Pure Food Products” and lists of “Tested and Approved” products in the magazine. Products were known as having the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.”
The magazine has been known to be very ahead of its time on social and health issues. The first article on electric cooking appeared in the magazine in 1899, cigarette advertisements were banned as early as 1952 and the magazine’s activism contributed to the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act.
Famous contributors include Somerset Maugham, Edwin Markham, Virginia Woolf, and Evelyn Waugh.