Asunción López-Varela traces two women’s respective paths to more prominent positions in the nineteenth-century literary marketplace. Sara Payson Willis, who also went by her better-known name Fanny Fern, and Margaret Fuller, the protagonists of López-Varela’s essay, were early feminists. Both Fern and Fuller found ways to unprecedented success as writers and ways to participate in politics despite their ideological positioning in domesticity. With Ruth Hall, the working-class heroine of Fern’s eponymous novel, who is “just a glance away from prostitution,” Fern exposed the “fragility of middle-class life“ in no uncertain terms (222), thus causing much outrage at the time. Lopez Varela examines Fern’s use of sentimentalism as a strategy to forward her feminist agenda and discusses ways in which Fuller followed an explicit political program, introduced also in her theory of journalism as a tool for nation-building. (keywords: periodicals, journalism, literary market, print culture, authorship, copyright, historical reading, New England, New York,1850)