Better Homes and Gardens (magazine)

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For the Australian television show, see Better Homes and Gardens (TV series).
Better Homes and Gardens
Better Homes and Gardens (magazine cover).jpg
November 2005 cover
Editor-in-chief Gayle Butler
Categories home economics, interior design
Frequency 12 issues/year
Publisher Meredith Corporation
Total circulation
(2013)
7,624,505[1]
First issue 1922
Country USA
Based in Des Moines, Iowa
Language English
Website bhg.com
ISSN 0006-0151

Better Homes and Gardens is the fourth best selling magazine in the United States. Its current editor-in-chief is Gayle Butler. Better Homes and Gardens focuses on interests regarding homes, cooking, gardening, crafts, healthy living, decorating, and entertaining. The magazine is published 12 times per year by the Meredith Corporation. It was founded in 1922 by Edwin Meredith, who had previously been the United States Secretary of Agriculture under Woodrow Wilson.

Better Homes and Gardens is one of the "Seven Sisters", a group of women's service magazines.

Early History[edit]

Better Homes and Gardens was founded in 1922 by Edwin T. Meredith under the title Fruit, Garden and Home. The first editor was Chesla Sherlock.

The magazine began with a circulation of 150,000 copies in its first year, rising to over one million by its fourth year of publication. It changed its name to Better Homes and Gardens in 1924.[2]

Brand extension[edit]

The Meredith Corporation publishes a number of books on home economics and gardening under the BH&G brand, the best known of which is the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, colloquially known as the "Red Plaid" book. Now in its 15th edition (published in August 2010), the Red Plaid was originally published in 1930. Meredith also publishes the New Junior Cookbook for children learning to cook.

The magazine's title was used by Meredith's real estate arm, which was sold and then called GMAC Real Estate. In October 2007, Meredith entered a 50-year licensing agreement with Realogy Corporation to license the Better Homes and Gardens name to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate. The company is based in Parsippany, New Jersey, and has offices across the country.

Meredith's broadcasting division began producing the television program Better in the fall of 2007, which is a lifestyle show which has a mix of content from Meredith's various magazine titles (included BH&G), consumer advice and celebrity interviews. The program currently airs on stations owned by Meredith, Journal, Fisher and LIN TV groups.[3] Some Meredith-owned stations produce their own local edition of Better.

The brand offers a line of home decor products through a partnership with Home Interiors and Gifts, a company based on direct selling.

Overseas editions[edit]

An Australian edition is also published, under licence, by Pacific Magazines and there is also a television show which airs on the Seven Network. The Australian edition is the 6th best selling consumer magazine in Australia. The Australian edition has been publishing since July 1978.

References in popular culture[edit]

Mad Magazine published a satire in 1958 (issue #53) titled "Bitter Homes and Gardens," including articles titled "They Built Their House on a Lot 22 Inches Wide" (A house built between two office buildings); a "How-The..." department which suggests putting a lawn on rollers so one can drag it "to a nearby spot where it's raining"; and an article on how to convert a second bathroom into a basement (with a photo of the author's wife, who has just stepped out of the shower and covers herself with a towel). The magazine was also spoofed in the 1970s as "Bitter Homes and Garbage", in a set of "Crazy Magazine Covers" produced by Fleer.

In an episode of "I Love Lucy", Lucy jokes about the magazine as, "Better Homes and Garbage" when she and Ethel redecorate Lucy's apartment.

An episode of The Simpsons showed a brief shot of a magazine entitled Better Homes Than Yours.

In Little Shop of Horrors Audrey sings in "Somewhere That's Green" about how her dream house is a "picture out of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine."

In country recording artist Miranda Lambert's 2010 hit single titled "The House That Built Me", there is a verse that says, "Mama cut out pictures of houses for years from Better Homes and Gardens magazine".

The music video of the song Sliver by American grunge band Nirvana shows a short take of the magazine at second 00:42.

Brandon Flowers mentions the magazine in the song 'The Clock Was Tickin' from his 2010 album Flamingo.

Editors[edit]

  • Chesla Sherlock (1922–1927)
  • Elmer T. Peterson (1927–1937)
  • Frank W. McDonough (1938–1950)
  • J. E. Ratner (1950–1952)
  • Hugh Curtis (1952–1960)
  • Bert Dieter (1960–1967)
  • James A. Riggs (1967–1970)
  • James Autry (1970–1979)
  • Gordon Greer (1979–1983)
  • David Jordan (1984–1993)
  • Jean LemMon (1993–2001)
  • Karol DeWulf Nickell (2001–2006)
  • Gayle Butler (2006–present)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Alliance for Audited Media Snapshot Report - 6/30/2013". Alliance for Audited Media. June 30, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ Carol Reuss, Books at Iowa, no. 17, November 1972. Link
  3. ^ [1]

External links[edit]