Kate Chopin’s famous short story “Désirée’s Baby” appeared in Vogue in January 1893. It was the earliest of nineteen Kate Chopin stories that the magazine published.

Vogue‘s first issue had come out just a few weeks before, in December 1892. It cost ten cents (about $2.70 in today’s American dollars). The cover:

Vogue1

Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”“A Respectable Woman”“A Pair of Silk Stockings” and “The Kiss” also appeared in Vogue.

Kate Chopin’s picture appeared in the December, 1894, issue. Emily Toth explains in Unveiling Kate Chopin that Chopin is presented “in an etherial contemplative pose, wearing a small black headdress. Vogue‘s caption praised both her brains and beauty:

‘MRS. KATE CHOPIN—A beautiful woman, whose portrait fails to convey a tithe of the charm of her expressively lovely face, has been an honored contributor to Vogue almost from its first number. . . . Mrs. Chopin is daring in her choice of themes, but exquisitely refined in the treatment of them, and her literary style is a model of terse and finished diction.’

In December, 2011, Vogue announced that all of its issues (from 1892 on) are available online.

A Question about Kate Chopin, Vogue, and “The Kiss”

Question from a reader: I’m surprised that Kate Chopin had so many of her stories, like “The Kiss,” published in Vogue. What did Vogue readers think of the stories?

Answer: Heidi Johnsen writes in the recent Kate Chopin in the Twenty-First Century that in the 1890s “the society pages indicate that Vogue readers were concerned with [the issue of women having to choose between passion and money] since the magazine copiously reports not only the engagements and alliances of the wealthy, but also the balls and dinners they give and the vacations they take. The magazine thrived on readers having an interest in those who are in the upper class, and yet Chopin laughs at them when she has Nathalie appear the fool.”