By Larry Litton, Cleveland resident and business owner
I have in my hand the January 1897 issue of “Woman’s Home Companion” magazine. The magazine was first published in 1857 and discontinued one hundred years later in 1957. The magazine initially focused on the housewife with cleaning tips, recipes and other helpful ideas.
Over time, it evolved to give deserved recognition to women, and there was emphasis for higher education for girls. When the magazine was in circulation, with just a few exceptions, women were generally viewed as being in the home and an extraordinary percentage were housewives. The perception of women needed to change. The idea made sense to any reasonable person. Change was inevitable; it needed to happen.
Although I have had the magazine for many years, admittedly I really never took time to pay much attention to its content until recently. While doing so, I realized the fact that a magazine was created and distributed to promote the role of women in the home while providing information to improve daily lives. A magazine with a cost of five cents per issue to the consumer or an annual subscription cost of fifty cents helped tell the story of women and in a non-political way recognized women, their accomplishments and how they were not provided the same opportunities to maximize success.
This description is a “broad brush” of a hundred-year-old work. Its impact certainly was felt, and the fact that I am referencing an issue of the magazine that was printed 124 years ago is indicative of it still having use. Today, with a world full of turmoil and calls for change at record levels, the “Woman’s Home Companion” is a good example to illustrate that change doesn’t happen overnight. How could anyone ever argue against putting women on equal footing with men? History tells us there was opposition, and a lot of it. However, change made common sense and without question was morally correct. It took far too long for women to receive just recognition; today, there continues to be hurdles in some settings. The effort is ongoing. In spite of adversity, women leadership in all aspects of society and professions speaks for itself. We see women leadership in our community, the highest places in America and on the world stage.
In our fast-paced world, we have electronic data at our fingertips and opportunities to express views and opinions instantly. There are conflicting views on just about everything accompanied by calls for change. To have a different view is good, but it takes people with opposing views to work together to accomplish change. Whoa, I am not suggesting it takes 100 years or more to achieve change. First of all, regardless of the change, it must make sense and be morally correct, and advocates must have patience.
A common-sense approach to fix a problem is practical, realistic and works. People of every ethnicity, political preference and socioeconomic status working together for a common purpose and goal achieve successful results. Our world is full of processes and procedures that need to be fixed. Even some ideas that make no sense get momentum, such as, removing law enforcement officers and the removal of funds to fight rising crime is unbelievably nonsense. Just as non-sensible are deliberate acts to not respect this great country and the men and women who serve in our military or in public office.
Thank God for the men and women elected as public servants in our communities who take a stand to support law and order and who protect the freedom we enjoy in this great country so that we can love one another and work together for common purposes and goals.
A footnote: Through the years I’ve amassed a broad collection of items while rummaging through tables at garage sales, auctions, flea markets, specialty shops and any other place with interesting content. What many may call “junk” contains a volume that has historical significance of some kind. The “Woman’s Home Companion” is just one of the items obtained through the process.