Today's Daily Mail has a long but interesting story about the creation of Britain's first women's magazine. In 1935, a young mother wrote a letter to a publication called Nursery World:
Can any mother help me? I live a very lonely life as I have no near neighbours. I cannot afford to buy a wireless. I adore reading, but with no library am very limited with books. I dislike needlework, though I have to do a lot of it! I get so down and depressed after the children are in bed and I am alone in the house. I know it is bad to brood and breed hard thoughts and resentment. Can any reader suggest an occupation that will intrigue me and exclude "thinking" and cost nothing?
According to the article, women from all over the country wrote back expressing similar frustrations. They were intelligent women who found themselves married and confined to their homes, not exactly fulfilled by their roles as housewives and mothers. The solution? They started a private magazine, a place where all of their ideas and opinions could be expressed.
Each woman, writing under a nom de plume, would contribute an article on any subject and post it to the editor, who would assemble the articles. She would mail the completed magazine to the first woman on a pre-arranged list, who had a set amount of time to read it, and who would add her own comments on the pages before sending it on to the next member.
The women dubbed this project the Cooperative Correspondence Club, or CCC, and there were up to 24 members at any one time. There was only one copy of the magazine every 2 weeks, so, often, more than one issue would circulate at a time. The stories were about motherhood, life during wartime, marriage, and the struggles of a daily routine. As cheesy as it sounds, what's fascinating is that this urge, desire — to bond with other women through the written word, read their stories and secrets, without actually knowing or meeting them — sounds a lot like what we do right here everyday. Just a moment of sincerity. We'll be back to jaded and superficial before you know it.