W. Jennings Demorest & Mme. Demorest.
Demorests Monthly Magazine 1877.
Steel engraving, sheet 191 x 147mm. Trimmed, lightly soiled.
William Jennings Demorest, publisher on Broadway, New York City, and his wife Ellen Louise Curtis Demorest. Ellen Curtis married Demorest in 1858. She conceived the idea of mass-produced accurate paper patterns for home dressmaking. In 1860 she opened Madame Demorestís Emporium of Fashions on Broadway and he began publishing the quarterly Mme. Demorestís Mirror of Fashions, which featured, in addition to the obligatory colour fashion plates, a pattern stapled into each copy. The patterns also were distributed by themselves, soon through a nationwide network of agencies as they proved immensely popular; in 1876, their peak year, three million patterns were sold. The success of the magazine led to its becoming the expanded Demorestís Illustrated Monthly Magazine and Mme. Demorestís Mirror of Fashions in 1864 (Illustrated was dropped from the name in 1865). While her husband established a mail-order operation to deal in sewing aids and other merchandise, Demorest developed a cheap hoopskirt and a new line of corsets, cosmetics, and other products, at the same time presiding over her emporium. She also supported her husband in his reform work, especially the temperance crusade, and interested herself in projects for the betterment of opportunities for women. She employed a great many women herself, including a large number of African-American women who worked on the same terms as their white coworkers, and she was active in the management of the New York Medical College for Women and the Welcome Lodging House for Women and Children. In 1868 she helped organize Sorosis, a social club. In the 1880s the business declined, in large part because of the Demorestsí failure to patent their paper pattern idea and the consequent competition of, among others, Ebenezer Butterick (often credited with having originated the idea). In 1887 Demorest sold the pattern business.
[Ref: 7894] £95.00