Social Victorians/Newspapers

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Newspapers and Magazines[edit | edit source]

See also the page collecting people who worked in publishing and journalism: publishers, journalists (including "Aristocratic Lady Journalists"), illustrators, editors, proprietors, and so on.

Papers That Publish Society and London Gossip (Mitchell's)[edit | edit source]

  • The Argus
  • The Bookman
  • Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle
  • The Isle of Wight Guardian
  • The Lady's Magazine (La Moniteur de la Mode) [about class rather than gossip]
  • The Licensed Victualler's Mirror
  • Observer
  • The Owl
  • The People
  • The Queen, the Lady's Newspaper
  • St. James's Budget
  • The Sketch
  • The Stage
  • Warder and Dublin Weekly Mail
  • Waverley
  • The Weekly Sun
  • The Western Weekly Mercury
  • Whitehall Review
  • Wrexham Argus and North Wales Athlete

The Central Press, a press agency, says it provides "Lobby Gossip" (Mitchell's 188) and "Society Gossip" (Mitchell's 304).

Papers from Outside the U.K. That Played a Role[edit | edit source]

  • The Beacon (in Poona, India)
  • Mercure de France
  • Overland Mail (written for India; special edition for China)
  • The New York Herald (9 March 1858–31 January 1920; British Library DSC Shelfmark 6089.303000n)
  • The Paris Temps (British Library DSC Shelfmark 8790.050000)

Other Newspapers[edit | edit source]

  • The Echo (1868–) (British Library DSC Shelfmark 3647.367450n)
  • The Glasgow Herald (26 August 1805–)
  • The London Evening News. The Evening News joined the highly competitive group of London daily newspapers in 1894 when it was purchased by journalist Alfred Harmsworth. Under Harmsworth the newspaper was successful and rather sensationalistic, with illustrations and headlines like "Was It Suicide or Apoplexy?, Another Battersea Scandal, Bones in Bishopgate, Hypnotism and Lunacy and Killed by a Grindstone" ( [link no longer works, server gone]). Harmsworth claimed in November 1894 that his newpaper had the largest circulation in the world — 394,447 — and that the only reason the sales were below half a million copies was the number of printing presses he owned. When his daughter was born in January 1889, Arthur Conan Doyle put the announcement in the Evening News: "CONAN DOYLE. On the 28th instant, at Bush Villa, Elm Grove, Mrs Conan Doyle, wife of A. Conan Doyle MD, of a daughter" (Stavert 136).
  • London Daily Telegraph (1855–), founded by Joseph Moses Levy in a market in which there were ten newspapers, so he made his paper less expensive than the rest. Very quickly it was outselling the Times. In its early days, under the editorship of Levy and his employees, the paper supported liberal causes and governmental reform. It also sensationalized its stories. Some headlines from the 1850s included the following: "A Child Devoured by Pigs," "Extraordinary Discovery of Man-Woman in Birmingham," "Shocking Occurrence: Five Men Smothered in a Gin Vat." In keeping with its sensationalistic approach, the paper focused on crime and court reporting. In the 1870s, the leadership on the paper was politically conservative. Edwin Arnold was editor, and he was not replaced until 1899. In the early 1880s a reporter on the paper helped solve a murder on a train. The murderer was identified by the first portrait block published in a newspaper, and he was subsequently convicted and executed. The paper would have been associated with investigative journalism. (; link no longer works, server gone) (ISSN 03071235. British Library DSC Shelfmark 3512.450000f)
  • The National Observer
  • Reynold's Weekly Newspaper had, by the end of the century, been a fixture in London journalism for many years and was, in its own words, "devoted to the cause of freedom and in the interests of the enslaved masses." Founded in 1850, it owed some of its very large circulation to its price — George William Reynolds lowered the price from 4 shillings to a penny in 1864, and by 1875 its circulation was 350,000 a week. When Reynolds died in 1894, the paper was taken over by liberal M.P. James Henry Dalziel, who "brought in several new features including a women's page, serial stories, words and music of popular songs and help finding missing relatives and friends" (; link no longer works, server gone).
  • The Scottish Leader (3 January 1887 – 4 July 1894?)
  • The Star, founded in 1887 by politically radical journalist and Irish nationalist T. P. O'Connor. The Star hired writers for their radical beliefs. Assistant editor H. W. Massingham also hired well-known writers for their talents and names. He knew George Bernard Shaw and hired him to be an assistant leader-writer. Reporter Ernest Clarke is remembered by O'Connor in his Memoirs like this: "He might be trusted to work up any sensational news of the day, and helped, with [his coverage of] Jack the Ripper, to make gigantic circulations hitherto unparalleled in evening journalism" (; link no longer works, server gone).
  • The St. James's Gazette

The London Daily News[edit | edit source]

In 1895 Mitchell's Newspaper Press Directory says that the Daily News's politics were liberal, the "Latest Time for Ads." was 7 p.m., and the "Time Published" was 5 a.m. (Mitchell 1895 55).

Daily News. 1d. Established Jan. 21, 1846.

Principles: Liberal and Independent. It is very ably conducted in every department; and neither in its politics or literature, its domestic or foreign news, its English, American, or Continental correspondence and telegrams, yields the palm to any of its contemporaries. Its literary, dramatic, and musical articles are distinguished by great ability.

Published by T. Britton, 19, 20, 21, Bouverie Street; (Office for Advertisements) 67, Fleet Street, W.C. (Advt. p. 32.) (Mitchell 1895 58).

Daily News ad in Mitchell's Newspaper Press Directory, 1895:

Daily News Office,

67, Fleet Street, London.
Important to Advertisers.
The Daily News
The Largest Circulation
Of Any Liberal Paper in the World.
The Daily News is now the leading Liberal organ. It has the largest circulation of any liberal paper in the world, and is, therefore, the best channel for Advertisements of every description.

[C. Mitchell & Co., Advertising Agents and Contractors, 12 and 13, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, London, E.C.] (32).

The Daily News was edited by Charles Dickens early on. Editor William Black "retired from journalism" in 1876 (Brake Demoor 57 a–b). Conservative Edward Tyas Cook was editor between 1895 and 1901, when he was dismissed by the new owners, the Cadbury family.

Henry Labouchere was part-proprietor beginning in 1868 (Brake Demoor 338a). According to The Life of Henry Labouchere, which is quoting Fifty Years of Fleet Street: The Life and Recollections of Sir John Robinson,

Sir John Robinson thus describes the syndicate of which Mr. Labouchere became a member: "The proprietors of the Daily News, a small syndicate which never exceeded ten men, were a mixed body, hardly any two of whom had anything in common. The supreme control in the ultimate resort rested with three of them, Mr. Henry Oppenheim, the well-known financier, with politics of no very decided kind; Mr. Arnold Morley, a Right Honourable, an ex-party Whip, / and a typical ministerial Liberal; and Mr. Labouchere, the Radical, financier, freelance. Others had but a small holding, and practically did not count, save as regards any moral influence they might bring to brea on their colleagues at Board meetings." (Thorold 95–96)

Labouchere sold his share in 1895 (Thorold 96):

On Mr. Gladstone's withdrawal from public life," he wrote in Truth, "the party, or rather a majority of the officialdom of the party became tainted with Birmingham imperialism. My convictions did not allow me to be connected with a newspaper which supported a clique of intriguers that had captured the Liberal ship, and that accepted blindly these intriguers as the representatives of Liberalism in regard to our foreign policy.

It looks like when Robinson stepped down, the proprietors were Oppenheim and Morley until the paper was sold to the next syndicate, which included George Cadbury (Thomas 380).

The Gentlewoman: The Illustrated Weekly Journal for Gentlewomen[edit | edit source]

  • According to an ad in the 1905 Newspaper Press Directory, the Gentlewoman was a weekly published on Thursday (NPD 1905 94).
  • It was a women's (ladies') magazine.
  • 1890–1926
  • The address was 70–76 Long Acre, London, W.C. (NPD 1905 94).
  • It carried illustrated interviews: <quote>the subject was often an aristocratic woman and the interview was as much about the decor and furnishings of her home as about her own achievements. These interviews blended with the advice on furnishing and house decoration which became increasingly popular feature in all kinds of magazines for women at this time. They also exploited the techniques of the new journalism to suggest an intimacy with the great and famous into whose most private rooms the reader was allowed to look</quote> (Beetham and Boardman 59).

Gentlewoman (The). Thursday, 6d.

Established 1890.
Illustrated weekly newspaper for ladies, with a very large and increasing circulation all over the kingdom, on the Continent, in America and the Colonies, amongst the best and most wealthy class.

Published at 70–76, Long Acre, W.C. (Advt., p. 96.)

(NPD 1905 71).

[IMG] (Who's Who 55 31)

The Graphic[edit | edit source]

According to the 1895 Mitchell's Newspaper Directory, the Graphic was a weekly, published on Fridays, which sold for 9d. Its description read as follows:

Principles: Independent. An admirably illustrated journal, combining "Literary excellence with artistic beauty." The illustrations are in the first style of art. The literary portion of the paper is admirable in its arrangement, and a series of essays and notices on the topics of the day add greatly to its attractive character. Stories by popular authors appear weekly, illustrated by eminent artists. (68)

The Graphic had a ladies' column in the 1890s and 1900s written by Lady Violet Greville, "Place aux Dames." <quote>Lady Violet claimed, when offered the Graphic job, that all her suggestions for subject-matter – art, literature, theatre, dress — were rejected on the grounds that they already had writers for those topics — and she should just write whatever she liked! She clearly did, earning the compliment from fellow journalist Mary Billington, (who eventually ran the "women's department" at the Daily Telegraph) that as a writer she combined 'daring, brilliancy, and romance'. In particular she championed the cause of sports for women.</quote> (Onslow, Barbara. "The Ladies' Page." Victorian Page: The Web Magazine of Victoriana. Web. Accessed April 2017.

See the paragraph under the Illustrated London News about Florence Fenwick-Miller and Violet Greville's roles in articulating the subtle differences between the Graphic and the Illustrated London News on the topic of the New Woman.

The Illustrated London News[edit | edit source]

The Illustrated Morning News had a ladies' column in the 1886 and 1918 written by Florence Fenwick-Miller, "Ladies Column" and later "Ladies' Page."

Florence Fenwick-Miller’s weekly ‘Ladies Column’ in The Illustrated London News and its equivalent in The Graphic, Lady Violet Greville’s ‘Place aux Dames’, form a fascinating contrast. In brief, Fenwick-Miller in The Illustrated London News takes a progressive line on the suffrage and marriage questions, celebrating a victory for women’s rights in the Jackson/Clitheroe judgement (which denied the authority of the husband to hold his wife against her will, 4 April 1891, 452), yet remains an enthusiastic advocate of the latest feminine fashions from Paris. On the death of Emily Faithful, Fenwick-Miller praises her work as a publisher while criticizing the manliness of her costume (15 June 1895, 750). Greville in The Graphic opposes electoral or marriage reform, but is in favour of paid work, active athleticism, and rational dress for women – she sees the enfranchisement of women in Australia as the ‘thin end of the wedge’ (25 Nov 1893, 659), but demands that ‘where women do equally good work with men their wages should be the same’ (15 Sept 1894, 306).


The ILN can be found in Google Books:

The London Gazette[edit | edit source]

An official journal of record for the government of the U.K., the London Gazette has detailed coverage of official social events — like weddings of the royal family, for example, and granting of awards and honors.

The (London) Morning Post[edit | edit source]

In 1879, Mitchell's Press Directory described the Morning Post as follows:

MORNING POST. Daily, 3d.

Established 1772.

Principles: High Church and Whig. The Post is not merely a political newspaper, it is the fashionable chronicle and journal of the Beau Monde. Few events occur in the higher circles, to which publicity can consistently be given, which are not reported in its columns. Its news department is full and complete; its reports impartial, and well written; and its criticisms on books, music, pictures, and science are considered as authorities. Its correspondents are numerous; and those in the colonies especially are evidently well informed upon all questions that form the subjects of public discussion of government policy. It is an able and consistent advocate of the principles of the "High Church" party, as distinguished from the "Evangelical" section of the Church; but it does not favour the doctrines of the Ritualistic party.

Published by F. W. Smith, Wellington Street, W.C. (Gliserman [11])

Brake and Demoor say the Morning Post was taken over by Peter Borthwick in 1849 and bought by his son Algernon Borthwick, who had been editor as well, in 1879.

In 1895 Mitchell's Newspaper Press Directory says that the Morning Post's politics were conservative, the "Latest Time for Ads." was 10 a.m., and the "Time Published" was 3 p.m. (Mitchell 1895 55).

Laurel Brake and Marysa Demoor's Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland says the following:

The editorship was taken over by Peter Borthwick in 1849, the start of a family connection that was to last until 1924. On Borthwick's death in 1852, the editorship passed to his son Algernon Borthwick, who bought the paper in 1876, and consolidated its imperialist* and conservative tone. He also continued its interest in sporting* matters, particular racing. When he took over the paper, its circulation had declined to under 3,000 (compared to a circulation of The Times of 40,000.) He reduced the price* from 3d to 1d and increased its circulation. During his editorship, leader writers included Andrew Lang* and Alfred Austin*. William E. Henley*, Thomas Hardy* and Rudyard Kipling contributed verse while George Meredith was its special correspondent during the Italian wars* of liberation from Austria. Borthwick, now Lord Glenesk, died in 1908 and his family sold the paper in 1924. It merged* with the Daily Telegraph* in 1937. JRW Sources: Griffiths 1992, Hindle 1937, ODNB. (Brake and Demoor 427)

In Mitchell's 1906 Newspaper Press Directory, the Morning Post is described as follows:

Morning Post. Daily, 1d.

Established 1772.

Principles: Unionist. The Morning Post is the oldest daily newspaper existing in London. It gives special attention to fashionable and foreign news, and is also noted for its full and accurate reports of Parliamentary proceedings. As a medium for announcements which it is desired to bring before the notice of the high and wealthy classes, the Morning Post cannot be surpassed.

Published by E. E. Peacock, Aldwych, W.D. (Advt. p. 88.)
Tele. Nos.
Strand (5432 Gerrard.
(13553 P.O. Central
Aldwych, 13501 P.O. Central
City Office, 5522 Avenue.

(NPD 1905: 62; identical description in Mitchell 1896 58)

Willing's British and Irish Press Guide for 1891 describes the Morning Post like this:

MORNING POST, 1772. (c) Daily — 3 a.m. 1d. T. L. Coward, 12 Wellington Street, W.C. Political, general, and fashionable newspaper. (Willing's 1891: 79)

Willing's also classifies the Morning Post as a family newspaper (135).

Sell's Dictionary of the World's Press says this in 1886: Dating its birth back to the year 1772, this paper can boast of being the oldest political daily newspaper existing in London. Its career has ben a very distinguished and interesting one; and among its contributors it has numbered Southey, Wordsworth, Sir James Mackintosh and others. Coleridge was for some time its editor, and Charles Lamb contributed witty paragraphs. From its commencement it has been most ably conducted, and its criticisms on plays, music, and books are excellent. The special features of the Morning Post are its fashionable and foreign news, to which it gives special [127/128] prominence. Nothing of interest occurs in the upper circles of society that is not recorded in its columns, and everything which can interest the beau monde receives notice. The circulation of the Morning Post, though not so great as some of its contemporaries, is a very good one, being chiefly among fashionable and wealthy circles. This paper is consequently well adapted for the advertising of articles de luxe and good possessing first-class workmanship and artistic merit, the sale of which is almost entirely confined to persons to whom the cost is of secondary importance. Compared with the other "dailies" the advertising charges of the Morning Post are moderate. Till within the last two years this paper was published at threepence, but now its price is the general one of a penny, a reduction which has already increased its sale tenfold. (127–128)

Advertising prices for the Morning Post from the Newspaper Press Dictionary (NPD 1905: 88), found in Google Books:


The Morning Post in Fiction[edit | edit source]

When Major Pendennis moves to the country in Thackeray's 1864 novel, "he will miss seeing his name in the Morning Post on the day after each of the 'great London entertainments'" (Hampton, Mark. Visions of the Press in Britain, 1850–1950. Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2004: 23).

Gwendolyn in Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest says she will announce her engagement in the Morning Post.

In a discussion of parodies of newspaper journalism, Patrick Leary says, <quote>Punch frequently ran such parodies, beginning quite early on in the 1840s. The obsequiousness of the Morning Post (or "The Fawning Post," as Douglas Jerrold liked to call it) was a favorite target.</quote> (Leary).

Some Important Writers, Contributors, Editors, Etc.[edit | edit source]

  • C. J. (Charles James) Dunphie was art and theatre critic 1856–1908 (Brake and Demoor 186)
  • William A. Barrett was "chief music* critic on the Morning Post* (1866–1891)" (Brake and Demoor 39)
  • Algernon Borthwick founded a "society magazine" called The Owl (Brake and Demoor 67)
  • Florence Caroline Douglas Dixie, war correspondent in the Boer War, 1897 (Brake and Demoor 172)
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • Benjamin Disraeli, before Borthwick took over (Brake and Demoor 427)
  • Andrew Lang, occasional contributor (Brake and Demoor 346)
  • Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, Viscount Northcliffe (Brake and Demoor 270)
  • William E. Henley (Brake and Demoor 427)
  • Alfred Austin (Brake and Demoor 427)
  • Thomas Hardy (Brake and Demoor 427)
  • George Meredith (Brake and Demoor 427)
  • Winston Churchill ( (Brake and Demoor 412)

Pall Mall Gazette[edit | edit source]

The Pall Mall Gazette ran a "ladies' column" called the "Wares of Autolycus" <quote>from May 1893 to the end of 1898, appearing most days of the week, and drawing on a group of female journalists, notably Alice Maynell, to cover between them literature, gardening, fashion, home decor, good food, and society news. But though constructed in gossip column form, its aesthetic and literary standards lifted it well above the level of the average contemporary gossip column</quote> (Onslow, Barbara. "The Ladies' Page." Victorian Page: The Web Magazine of Victoriana (accessed April 2017).

Both George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde wrote for the Pall Mall Gazette, which was edited by W. T. Stead. Shaw wrote book reviews. Special issues of the Pall Mall Gazette published some investigative journalism Stead did, "The Maiden Tribute to the Modern Babylon," about selling girls for sexual slavery (which lead to the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885).

The Pictorial World[edit | edit source]

The Pictorial World was an illustrated weekly newspaper that published between 7 March 1874 and 9 July 1892, or perhaps a new series began in 1891 (conflicting library records).

According to its first issue,

The Programme of The Pictorial World may be given in a few words. It is to present to the great middle-class of England, and of all English-speaking countries, a weekly illustrated record of passing events, which shall be pure in tone, amusing in its contents, and graceful to the eye— a paper which will depict faithfully with pen and pencil both "what the world says" and "what the world does." In The Pictorial World authors and artists will work together— each will inspire the other; and the cut-and-dried style of article shall be as much as possible avoided. It will therefore largely depend upon external help and kindnesses, and will open its pages to interesting sketches, far-brought novelties, and hints from friends at home and abroad. Such, in brief outline, is our wish and plan: we offer this first number as an earnest of our desire to carry it out; our succeeding numbers will show a progressive improvement. Appealing for public support, we look confidently to the future. (1884-03-07 Pictorial World)

Lady Violet Greville says she wrote anonymously or pseudonymously for the Pictorial World (1894-04-04 Sketch 5, Col. 1C), perhaps shortly after it began publication. Mary Elizabeth Braddon published The Golden Calf in the Pictorial World, 1882–1883. George Robert Sims published a series called "How the Poor Live" beginning in 1883.

The Queen, The Lady's Newspaper[edit | edit source]

The Queen was marketed to women in the "upper ten thousand," an expression originally used for American Society but later translated to the U.K. Through a couple of major changes, the last major one of which occurred in 1970, the Queen is now Harper's Bazaar.

Queen. Saturday, 6 d. Established 1861.

Principles: Neutral. It is particularly intended for ladies' much needed in this country; the earliest colored fashion-plates from Paris, and original work-patterns by the best designers. It has many novel departments, in which ladies communicate useful observations and criticisms. "Pastimes," "Domestic and Rural Economy," and "Domestic Pets," are also included; and a large space is given to "Receipts" for family use. Pastimes for ladies, a charade, a novel, or a sprightly sketch, vary the contents. Court and fashionable news are fully reported and the paper is well illustrated.

Published by Horace Cox, Bream's Buildings, Chancery Lane, E.C. (Advt., p. 252.)

(Mitchell 1895 75)

The ad for the Queen in Mitchell's 1895 Newspaper Press Directory looks like this:

[IMG] (Mitchell 1895 252, Col. 3A)

Sussex Agricultural Express[edit | edit source]

The Sussex Agricultural Express, in describing a social event in which the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, as Mayor and Mayoress, decorated Devonshire House again, refers to some of the men who worked for the Duke and Duchess in January 1898: <quote>Mr. J. P. Cockerell, the Duck of Devonshire's indefatigable agent called to his aid a willing and competent staff from Compton Place, including Mr. W. S. Lawrence, the house steward, and Mr. May, the gardener</quote> (Sussex Agricultural 1898-01-29).

The Times[edit | edit source]

The 1895 Mitchell's Newspaper Press Directory includes the Times among the morning papers:

The Times. Daily, 3d. Established January 1, 1788, (weekly edition, 2d., established January, 1877.)

Principles: Church of England in religion; Free Trade in mercantile and commercial transactions. This, the leading journal of Europe, has for the field of its circulation, emphatically, the WORLD, and its influence is co-extensive with civilization. The connection is clear between the circulation and the advertisements. Not so clear is the relation between the circulation and the influence: to some extent the influence may be the effect; but chiefly, we suspect, the cause. The consciousness that thousands upon thousands read, creates some impression, an idea which may be to some extent the source of influence and of power. But there is in the influence of the Times something more substantial, more potent, than can be accounted for by the mere consciousness of its enormous circulation; it is "looked up to" all over Europe, and it is the only paper which men of all parties, and all classes, read and speak of. Other papers may be more preferred by particular classes, but all read the Times, who can; just because it is not possible to predicate its course on any question as regulated by the interest of any party or class: and it is known that it always acts on views of its own. It deals out its denunciations with equal force and freedom on all parties in their turn, with a boldness and decision quite characteristic; but not unfrequently, with great indifference to the consistency of its opinions. Hence all parties are uncertain what next they may exult in, a fiery storm invective against their antagonists or suffer the infliction themselves. It is distinguished for its reports of parliamentary and legal proceedings. It does not devote much of its space to literature and the fine arts; but its reviews and criticisms are forcibly and cleverly written.

Published by G. E. Wright Printing House Square, E.C. (Mitchell 1895 57)

Costing 3d. per daily issue, the "Latest Time for Ads." for the Times was 7 p.m., and the "Time Published" was 5 a.m. (Mitchell 1895 56).

The World: A Journal for Men and Women[edit | edit source]

The first number of the World was 8 July 1874. Edmund Yates and E. C. Grenville Murray were proprietors until 1874; Yates was editor from the beginning until the end of his life in 1894 (Edwards "Journalism"). Yates wrote editorials under the pseudonym Atlas.

According to P. D. Edwards, the World was

a weekly newspaper dedicated to the style of ‘personal journalism’ that Yates had been perfecting in his various gossip columns for nearly twenty years. Its appeal was to men and women of the world: clubmen, sportsmen, hangers-on of the literary, theatrical, and artistic worlds, fashionable and would-be fashionable ladies. After a few months it became a conspicuous and continuing success, generating hosts of imitators and inaugurating, it is generally agreed, the most distinctive twentieth-century style of journalism (Edwards "Introduction").

Some of the people who wrote for the World during Yates' editorship were G. B. Shaw, Lady Violet Greville, and so on.

It looks like the Clifton Society reprinted "What the World Says" columns from The World.

Magazines and Other Periodicals[edit | edit source]

The Lady's Realm: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine[edit | edit source]

Gossipy, with a focus on the aristocracy and fashionable and news about the Season. Some fiction and poetry, mostly written by women with titles.

London Society: A Monthly Magazine of Light and Amusing Literature for the Hours of Relaxation[edit | edit source]

A lot of serialized fiction, but Alexander Henry Wylie seems to have had an article in each issue about Society in one way or another.

Alexander Henry Wylie, "Society in 1892." London Society December 1892 (Vol. LXII): 611–614.[edit | edit source]

Anti-Semitism alert; classism alert.

SO much has been written by Lady Cork, Lady Jeune, Mr. Mallock, and other writers on "society," that it seems superfluous to add anything to what they have contributed to various magazines; but to an on-looker who does not go to "every lighted candle " the question naturally arises, What is now called "society?" There was a time, say, thirty years ago, when undoubtedly there was such a thing, leaving out, of course, the political ladies, who owed it to their party and their husbands to entertain all that were "on their side of the House." That we leave entirely alone, although in the case of Lady Palmerston (who stands alone, as a political lady, from an entertaining point of view), she steered clear of receiving any one who was not a friend, a relation, a person of birth and position, a great luminary in the political world, a celebrated author, or in some way entitled to an invitation to the best salon the London world has seen for many generations, and, so far, is ever likely to see again. Frances, Lady Waldegrave had a salon, but of a totally different kind: pleasant, yes, certainly; but cosmopolitan, undoubtedly. A loss she certainly is, not to the "great world," but to those who in every sense almost were her inferiors, and who would like to go out every night of their lives in a frivolous round of what they call "society." But I maintain "society " of thirty years ago does not exist at the present day. One most important cause is, notwithstanding what may be said to the contrary — and there are those who must own it to themselves — "You forget we have daughters to marry." No, I do not forget it, but strongly maintain all the more, considering the present state of "society," that the fathers and mothers should more than ever protect their sons and daughters from allying themselves with those whose family are in no way suited to their own, and whose only qualification is money. After all, what is money? Surely it is dearly bought if you have to marry it, and it alone; probably there is not an idea in common with the family who possess it, on either side, father or mother; they may never even have had grandfathers, or if so, probably of very humble origin, and in no way can their offspring be suitable companions for your children for life, and very often when married in a much higher sphere they expect that you have married not only themselves, but, also, their families. But to return to "society" as it now is. What is it? A new word has cropped up within the last ten years: "smart" society. Is it recruited from blood? assuredly not. Is it exemplary virtue? assuredly not. Is it exquisite wit? No, it is rich Jews, Americans, and those who must be en Evidence, and that they only can be from entertainments that alone cost far more than the very highest giving of the aristocracy of our country could or would deem it expedient to afford in so poor a cause; but the nouveaux riches have to buy their way into our present London society, and except by spending large sums this end cannot be attained. Their ostentatious display would in itself prevent, and does prevent, many of the "noble of the land" from ever encouraging their impertinent overtures to induce them to visit them or to recognize them socially in any way; but there are those who "jump" at the invitations the minute they arrive, and a ready response is sent, only too willingly. But in many instances the excuse for going to these houses is, "You know we have all our daughters to marry and those people "who give these gorgeous feasts are all so colossally rich." Are they? Not always. Ask them in view of marriage to settle a sum on your son or daughter, as the case may be, and the answer generally is, "Trust to us to make money matters all right." We know in several instances the value of these assurances. While money lasts they probably make a fair allowance to the young couple, but a crash comes, and where is the fair allowance, not to speak of a "settlement,'' which of course has never been made. Mothers who take their daughters to the houses of the nouveaux riches, of whatever nationality, have only themselves to thank if misfortune overtakes their children eventually, if it is by marriage that they have allied themselves to such people.

I know at present of three ladies in London, but not in what is now termed "society," who would not for one moment admit any one of the "new" people to their houses. Without doubt they are the most exclusive in London. Happily for them, none of them have "daughters to marry." One is the wife of an exLord Lieutenant of Ireland, and the others, two sisters of high birth and of exquisite refinement, the wives of earls and the daughters of earls. But those distinguished ladies are in the minority; the greatest compliment one can pay them is: "You 'never hear of them;' they are not 'advertising ladies.'" Many of our great ladies no longer exist. Lady William Russell, Lady Holland — where are they? Alas! no longer with us. Cleveland House is, through change of hands, no more the home of the Duchess of Cleveland, and several more hostesses, from one cause and another, entertain no longer, and their places filled — how? Why, not at all. Where is the grande dame of only a few years ago? True, there are the Embassies, and very well done are all entertainments at them. The Russian and Austrian are quite of the very best description. With such hostesses nothing else could be expected, but where are the ladies of Great Britain? Certainly not in London. Our sovereign and princes never for a moment contemplate competing with the ostentatious plutocrats of to-day. Nor even do our highest aristocracy strive to emulate them; but it might effect a change if they would set an example of aristocratic simplicity, so far as is compatible with their great position. What the nouveaux riches do not seem to understand, is that there is no true distinction in being rich, and that no genuine reverence is extended to them simply because of their wealth. One of the greatest signs of their vulgarity is the wanton and purposeless display of opulence by people who have no other possession in the whole world to recommend them. They think they are imitating the "great ones of the land," and, were it worth while, "the great ones" could rebuke them by reducing their expenditure, having fewer domestics, fewer carriages, fewer gardeners and gamekeepers; but even were those things done, I believe the lesson would be lost, and the motive be entirely misunderstood. The ducal simplicity would be ascribed either to personal meanness or to a reduced income. I am afraid it would take a great many men of birth and wealth in these days to enter into a compact to make the experiment in question, before the world at large would even observe that any new moral dogma was being put to the test. London "society" at present is immense, but exclusive "society" is small, smaller than ever; because nowadays it is obliged to discriminate more than ever, lest by accident, unawares, a member of the large London "society" finds his way into the smaller and exclusive drawing-rooms; they know their friends, and "are known by them." Many of the hostesses of the present day know not even the name of the guest the servant announces, but the most distinguished men of the day are totally unknown in the houses of the nouveaux riches. A certain set of people may go, of aristocratic birth, but probably they are impecunious (if not daughters to marry), and they think there is sure to be a good cook. A foreign royalty may go, but that is by mistake; H.R.H. may have been misled as to the social status of his host, and on his second visit to London will not again make the mistake he did on first visiting our shores. Let us hope that another season we may still have the exclusive hostesses with us, and that they will entertain in their usual unostentatious and high-bred manner. The last season was broken up by the dissolution of Parliament to a certain extent, but above all by the overwhelming calamity which happened to T.R.H. the Prince and the Princess of Wales, Her Majesty the Queen, the Royal Family, and to the nation at large. (611–614)

The Sketch: A Journal of Art and Actuality[edit | edit source]

Begun by William Ingram and Clement Shorter as an addition to the Illustrated London News, the Sketch was first edited by Clement Shorter (ed. 1893–1900). It focused on "high society and the aristocracy" (Wikipedia. "The Sketch." It was printed and published by Ingram Brothers, 198, Strand, London and cost sixpence.

The British Library holds a complete run, but as of August 2016, it was not part of the British Newspaper Archive; many of the volumes below were digitized and are probably held at the University of Minnesota.

Google Books has some issues; I need Vol. 18, and have found the following:

Quarterlies[edit | edit source]

  • The Fortnightly Review (1865–; V. 62-63, 1894-95; V. 64-66, 1895-96) (British Library DSC Shelfmark 4018.340000)

Minor Magazines[edit | edit source]

  • The Chameleon, an undergraduate literary magazine published by Oxford undergraduates. Lord Alfred Douglas's "Two Loves" was originally published in the December 1894 issue.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • [1884-03-07 Pictorial World] The Pictorial World 7 March 1874 (1:1). Old Pictorial: Press from Our Past. Online
  • [1894-04-04 Sketch 5, Col. 1C] "L. E." "A Chat with Lady Violet Greville." The Sketch 4 April 1894, Wednesday: 5, Col. 1A. (Behind paywall: Accessed December 2016.
  • Beetham, Margaret, and Kay Boardman, eds. Victorian Women's Magazines: An Anthology. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2001. Google Books.
  • Brake, Laurel, and Marysa Demoor, general editors. Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century Journalism in Great Britain and Ireland. Gent: Academia Press; London: The British Library, 2009.
  • [Edwards "Introduction"] Edwards, P. D. "Introduction." "Edmund Yates." Victorian Fiction Research Guides. No. 3. Online. Accessed April 2017:
  • [Edwards "Journalism"] Edwards, P. D. "Journalism." "Edmund Yates." Victorian Fiction Research Guides. No. 3. Online. Accessed April 2017:
  • Gliserman, Susan. "Mitchell's 'Newspaper Press Directory': 1846–1907." Victorian Periodicals Newsletter, No. 4 April 1969 (2: 1): 10–29.
  • Hindle, Wilfred. The Morning Post: 1772–1937, Portrait of a Newspaper. London: Rutledge, 1937.
  • Leary, Patrick. "Re: [VICTORIA] Victorian news parody." Reply to a posting on the Victoria listserv ( Monday, January 21, 2019 at 9:25 AM.
  • Mitchell, Charles. Newspaper Press Directory, 1895. [Hathi Trust via U Wisconsin Madison.]
  • Newspaper Press Directory, Vol. 52. London: Messrs C. Mitchell & Co., 1897.
  • [NPD 1905] Newspaper Press Directory: And Advertisers' Guide, Containing Full Particulars of Every Newspaper, Magazine, Review, and Periodical Published in the United Kingdom and the British Isles. The Newspaper Map of the United Kingdom, the Continental, American, Indian and Colonial Papers, and a Directory of the Class Papers and Periodicals. Diamond Jubilee Issue. 60th annual issue. London: C. Mitchell and Co., 1905. Google Books. <>
  • The [London] Observer of the Nineteenth Century, 1791-1901. London: Longmans, 1966. DA530.O2.
  • Onslow, Barbara. "The Ladies' Page." Victorian Page: The Web Magazine of Victoriana. Web. Accessed April 2017.
  • Sell, Henry. Sell's Dictionary of the World's Press. London, Sell's: 1886. Google Books. <>
  • [Sussex Agricultural 1898-01-29] "Sunday School Festival: Speech by the Duke." Sussex Agricultural Express 29 January 1898, Saturday: 7 [of 12], Col. 5B–6A (behind paywall:
  • Thomas, Frederick Moy, ed. Fifty Years of Fleet Street: The Life and Recollections of Sir John Robinson. London: Macmillan, 1904. Google Books:
  • Thorold, Algar Labouchere. The Life of Henry Labouchere. New York: G. P. Putnam's, 1913.
  • [Who's Who 55] Addison, Henry Robert, and Charles Henry Oakes, William John Lawson, Douglas Brooke Wheelton Sladen, eds. Who's Who, 1903. 55th edition. London, Adam and Charles Black, 1903. Google Books.
  • Willing's British and Irish Press Guide and Advertiser's Directory and Handbook. ["Late May's."] 18th ed. n.p., 1891. Google Books <>