Margaret E. Sangster
Author, and Editor of Harper’s Bazaar
1838 – 1912
Margaret E. Sangster was an author and editor whose life spanned the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. Though she published both articles and books, she is best known for her editorial work. While she has been connected editorially with five different publications, she is probably most noted for her work as editor of Harper’s Bazaar.
Born Margaret Munson on February 22, 1838 in New Rochelle, New York, she was born into a deeply religious family. While she didn’t have many educational advantages, so far as school life was concerned, Margaret had a well-rounded education provided at home. She undoubtedly had an inborn talent for writing and literary work, yet she was also careful to cultivate her talent as she matured. When she was still quite young, Margaret became a contributor to the leading periodicals of her day, and her first work, “Little Janney”, was published in 1855 when she was only seventeen years old. This story won her a commission to write 100 juvenile stories to accompany a series of drawings.
In 1858 Margaret married George Sangster and gave up her writing career until after his death in 1871. After her husband’s death, Margaret once again turned to writing and contributed several pieces to the “Hearth and Home”. She soon became editor of that magazine’s children’s page and then was assistant editor of the magazine, a post she held until 1875.
While she edited “Hearth and Home” Margaret still contributed articles to other magazines, especially essays and letters written for young girls on the Christian life. Margaret felt a call to be a role model to girls as a Christian leader. In 1875 she went on to become editor of “Christian at Work” and stayed with this position for six years. After this she spent the next nine years as assistant editor of the “Christian Intelligencer”. For part of this time she also editor of “Harper’s Young People”, which was a new periodical. In 1889, Margaret took on the job as editor of “Harper’s Bazaar”, where she remained until the magazine failed in 1899.
Mrs. Sangster found time for a sizable amount of miscellaneous work, and for many years was ranked as one of the most popular American poets. She published a Manual of Missions of the Reformed Church in America, Home Fairies and Heart Fairies, and a series of Sunday School books. She also published numerous other books including, “An Autobiography: From My Youth Up; Personal Reminiscences” that was published in 1909.
Margaret Sangster was a deeply religious woman and a prominent member of the Dutch Reformed Church and devoted much of her time to her denomination. She was especially fond of children and wrote many juvenile books. In fact, two of her productions, Elizabeth, Age Nine and Are the Children at Home were household words and were in many of the school readers. She wrote about a half dozen popular other books for children.
Margaret Sangster was a devout, cheerful, and sentimental woman, yet she was also very practical and had much common sense. She had many friends and many adoring fans. She died on June 2, 1912 in South Orange, New Jersey.