Historian Francis Parkman, writing in The North American Review 108 years ago, advanced quite a few arguments against granting women the vote. "To give women the suffrage is to expose the most excitable part of the human race to the influence of political passions," he wrote. Women of breeding, he warned, would be "outvoted in their own kitchens, without reckoning the agglomerations of poverty, ineptitude, and vice that form a startling proportion of our city populations." Zombified by Catholic priests, women "would repair to the polls at the word of command with edifying docility and zeal."

Carolyn Hardesty, guest editor of The North American Review's special autumn 1987 issue on "The Woman Question," observes that "when human beings want something badly (or with the same intensity don't want it), they devise an array of arguments, some of them wise and humane and some of them desperate and shameful." This was just as true of pro-suffragists, she notes, some of whom made "the despicable plea ... that their having the vote would keep down the black man's voice in the South."

Hardesty has collected a fine array of polemics, drawn from the pages of this venerable magazine between 1849 and 1929. About women's dress in 1895, C.H. Crandall bravely opines, "There is no need to distort the art of the Creator by the art of the milliner." Marjorie Wells, a mother of 10 in 1929, is furious that "the contraceptionists are unwittingly making things uncomfortable for the large family."

The pieces in this issue (send $3 to North American Review, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614) "suggest the evolution of thought about women," Hardesty writes, "but also reveal the tenacity of arguments that are dragged out with every political battle for women's rights."

Speaking of women and history, and of special issues, Prologue magazine reports that scholars are beginning to take the ill-defined institution of first lady seriously. This handsome publication of the National Archives devotes its new issue (dated summer) entirely to samples of this historical work.

The papers of the little-known Lou Henry Hoover, surveyed by Dale C. Mayer of the Herbert Hoover Library, contain more than 220,000 items spanning 141 linear feet of shelf space. The correspondence of Eleanor Roosevelt was formidable, judging by Frances M. Seeber's account -- not just in its volume, which one might have expected, but in the attention and detail she gave her letters.

Prologue also assesses the first ladyships of Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson and -- skipping Pat Nixon without comment -- Betty Ford. Issues are available from the Cashier, National Archives, Washington, D.C., 20408, at $3 each or $12 for a year's worth.

Like Father, Unliked Son A long time ago, Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione told his son and namesake, "You'll never be anything without me." Bob Guccione Jr. never forgot his father's tenderness. When Bob Jr. decided to launch his own magazine, Spin, three years ago, Bob Sr. provided $3 million and introductions to advertisers. When Bob Sr. pulled the plug on Spin two months ago, his prophecy was fulfilled.

According to the one-sided telling of this pathetic story, by Charles Leerhsen in the October Manhattan, inc., young Guccione was stunned by his father's decision. Bob Jr. is trying to get Spin going again, but he's on his own. His dad won't even return his phone messages, he says. If Bob Sr. has anything to say about this, or about the role his Penthouse colleague and paramour, Kathy Keeton, may have played in the soured relations with his son, he doesn't feel like saying it here.

Frankly, My Dears As a guide to the upcoming election in Philadelphia between Mayor Wilson Goode and former mayor Frank Rizzo, Philadelphia magazine presents "Rizzo for Beginners," by Lisa DePaulo, a lest-we-forget catalogue of the challenger's transgressions and banalities.

During his two terms as mayor during the 1970s, the ex-police chief proclaimed that "the streets are safe in Philadelphia; it's only the people who make them unsafe." When 10 policemen broke nightsticks over the back of a black man, Rizzo said, "It's easy to break some of those nightsticks nowadays."

All these reasons not to return Rizzo to power did not persuade the magazine's owner, D. Herbert Lipson. In the same issue, he writes with the print equivalent of a straight face that Rizzo has been "a public man in the finest sense for 20 years now, and you don't spend that much time taking the heat without it forging plenty of steel inside you. The one thing I know for certain is that Frank Rizzo deserves another chance."

Table of Contents The fevered maneuverings of a man carrying a rock in a velvet box, waiting to pop the question: This is the wedded person's oft-told and oft-distorted tale. Richard Rosen's effort to get the ring on the finger of his intended, as related in the October New England Monthly, is probably a better tale than yours.

Sex after childbirth: Who has the time? Who has the energy? Who has the interest? And besides, it hurts. Kate Nolan talked to a number of candid first-time parents for her essay in the November Parenting; what they report would be devastating if it were not universal. For those with their own tales of woe and miraculous recoveries, there's a reader's survey tucked into this issue.