Hen Coop (the women's page?)
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed May 31 23:02:30 UTC 2006
I just added "hen coop" to my web page, but the Google ads have nothing to
do with women. "Hen Coop" was the women's page of the NY Evening Journal in
1898. See the WSJ story below (Google News).
HDAS has "hen coop" from only 1900, and the only definition is "Stu., a
women's domitory." Can't we do better than Dialect Notes?
HDAS has "henhouse" from 1889 (1785 in brackets), but again it means either
"women's residence" or "women's prison."
Was "hen coop" ever newspaper slang for women's page writers?
21 May 2006, Wall Street Journal:
One spring day in 1898, Marie Manning was sitting in the "hen coop" -- slang
for the women's department -- of the New York Evening Journal when her
editor walked in carrying three letters from readers seeking personal advice.
Would Ms. Manning have any use for such letters on the women's page?
Hen Coop (the women's page) & the first advice column
“The Hen Coop” column began on July 20, 1898 in the New York Evening
Journal. It was a women’s page and the first women’s “advice column,” like an
early “Dear Abby” or “Ann Landers.”
Questions were answered by “Beatrice Fairfax,” originally Marie Manning and
later other writers.
“Hen coop” or “hen house” was slang for a women’s residence. It is not
clear if all women’s pages were called “hen coops,” or just the section of The
Marie Manning (January 22, 1872—November 28, 1945) was a newspaper columnist
and novelist in the early 20th century. She wrote the first newspaper advice
column, Dear Beatrice Fairfax, in 1898, the precursor to modern versions
such as Dear Abby and Ann Landers.
Manning began writing as a columnist for the New York World in 1896 at the “
space rate” of $5 per week. After being granted an exclusive interview with
the President of the United States, Grover Cleveland, she was promoted to
permanent staff and her salary was raised to $30 per week. When the paper’s
Editor moved to the New York Evening Journal in 1898, she followed at his
invitation. There she collaborated with two other women to create a women’s page
entitled the “Hen Coop”.
Dear Beatrice Fairfax
During the same year, the Hen Coop received three letters from readers who
sought advice about personal situations in their lives. Manning suggested a
new column exclusively used for giving personal advice. The column was named
Dear Beatrice Fairfax at her suggestion, named after Dante’s Beatrice and her
own family’s country home in Fairfax County, Virginia. The column began on
July 20, 1898 as the first advice column in the United States.
Her advice was an immediate success, and received so many letters that the
United States Post Office soon refused delivery of them and the Journal has to
retrieve the letters themselves. Manning’s common sense advice was imitated
nationwide thanks to its tremendous popularity. However, Manning’s efforts
went largely unrewarded and her payrate and status remained low at the paper.
She eventually resigned.
30 November 1945, New York Times, pg. 23:
Mrs. H.E. Gasch, 70, Originated
Fames Advice to the Lovelorn
Under Nom de Plume in 1898
WASHINGTON, Nov. 29—Mrs. Marie Manning Gasch, who formerly for years wrote an
advice-to-the-loverlorn column in The New York Evening Journal under the
name Beatrice Fairfax, died yesterday of a heart attack at her home here.
Her common sense motto was: “Dry your eyes, roll up your sleeves and dig for
a practical solution.”
Miss Manning next moved to The Evening Journal, where in 1898, with two
other women reporters, she was penned in an obscure corner, known as the Hen
Coop. They did “the women’s angle” on murder and celebrities.
One day Mr. Brisbane, then The Journal’s editor, brought to the Hen Coop
three letters, each seeking advice on a tragic personal problem. He wanted them
answered on the women’s page. Miss Manning suggested a separate department to
answer such letters. Mr. Brisbane approved the idea, and thus on July 20,
1898, Miss Manning made her debut as Beatrice Fairfax, a name she compounded out
of Dante’s Beata Beatrix and of Fairfax County, Va., where the Manning
family owned “a run-down place of sorts.”
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