years ago I read about the discovery, in the chimney of an old house,
of an archive of manuscript and other material relating to Grace
Webster (q.v.), a forgotten Scottish writer of the 19th century.
I bought that archive, and that led to an interest in other neglected
women writers of the period. UPDATE (September 2015): I am currently
filing the Grace Webster archive here: http://gracewebster.omeka.net/.
There are some 130 letters, along with other materials, so this is a
long-term project, but please follow the link to see the work in
progress. It gives a fascinating insight into Victorian life.
19th century was the first century in which women made a significant
impact on literature (of course there were women writers in earlier
periods, but they are the exception that proves the rule) and, despite
the fact that many of their works have fallen into neglect these days,
I feel sure that one day the world will once again want to know about
The women whose lives and works gain a mention here are a pretty random
selection. The only criteria for inclusion, really, are that they wrote
in English and that I felt their works were, one way or another, of
sufficient interest for me to buy a copy! Some of them are well-known,
but the majority have fallen into obscurity. In fact, scarcity has in
itself been a third criterion for many of the works listed, and in one
or two cases I have been unable, not only to track down any reference
to the author of a given work, but even to locate another copy of the
work than the one in my hands. The collection is still quite young and
still growing, and I welcome corrections, further information,
suggestions for additional material, etc.
There are a few reading copies listed, but ultimately I expect to weed
those out and replace them with collectible copies. I considered
dividing the contents into subject categories, but in the end opted to
list entries in alphabetical order by author's surname as given in the
book itself, cross-referenced with other names (usually surname before
marriage) where applicable. I use the term "first edition" in the
book-collector's sense, i.e., to indicate the first printing. Except in
one or two cases, I have not given details of the condition the books
and manuscripts are in; most are very good to fine, but a few are
fragile or otherwise defective.
-A.L.O.E. "A Lady of England" (See TUCKER, Maria Charlotte)
-ANONYMOUS. The Faithful Mother's Reward. A Narrative of the Conversion
and Happy Death of J.B. who died in the tenth year of his age. With an
introduction by the Rev. Charles Hodge, D.D. (Philadelphia:
Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1853). Entered according to Act of
Congress, in the year 1853, by A.W. Mitchell, M.D. In the Clerk's
Office of the district Court of the Eastern district of Pennsylvania.
16mo, intro. [xvi] + 323 pp. OLCL (wrongly) gives Charles
Hodge as being the author and lists 8 holding libraries. First edition.
Spiritual biography. When I saw this book I was amazed
that a mother could see her child's death in such terms. 150 years is
not so long - just a few generations - and yet one would be hard put to
find anyone in the western world today writing in this vein. If the
mother's account is to be taken at face value, the child showed himself
capable of religious discourse almost before he was out of his nappies,
and it seems he and his mother hardly ever discussed anything else.
-BADEN, Frances Henshaw. Lady Margaret (not separately published; in Dora Delmar, Had She Foreseen!, q.v.). 14 pp.
fiction. Frances Baden was quite a popular author in her day, and
co-authored several works with E.D.E.N. Southworth (q.v.).
-BAILLIE, Mrs. E.C.C., Autograph letter, signed to Miss Philpot
(Wyvenhoe Rectory, Colchester, March 22nd, year not given but probably
dear Miss Philpot, I thank you for your very kind letter. I think I
would publishing [sic] the pieces as Fragments of a Poem entitled
'Communism &c.' My only doubt is as to the first short
extract. Perhaps the place of that might be changed, or if not, I do
not think it should hinder pursuing the original title which is so very
nice and connects all the rest.
"It is so good of you to express a wish to see me -
I very seldom leave home, but if I were at any time in the West,
nothing would give me greater pleasure than to pay you a visit. I
always remember your kind reception when my husband and I were at [word
illegible] together. Could you come to us at Wyvenhoe some time when
you go to London? I would do my best to make you welcome.
"I have not been quite so strong the last
fortnight; more pain than usual, I am suffering a cold added to my
"I must send you a text we had on Wednseday when a
good man preached a most encouraging sermon - 'Faint, yet pursuing'.
"I exceedingly like your beautiful lines - Have you not written more?
"My pieces are collected together in a small book
entitled 'The Way of the Wilderness and other Poems' . I fancied
you had seen this - I suppose you know my 'Hours of Rest' .
"With kindest love to all your circle,
"Your affec[tion]ate friend E.E.C. Baillie"
I have not yet checked the work in question, but it would
seem that the opening paragraph is connected with Words Heard in
Quiet. Searchings out of the Book of the Lord and Fragments of Letters
and Poems. By E. A. W. With a memorial preface by B[enjamin]. Philpot.
Edited by his daughter [Miss L. C. Philpot] (London 1870). It is
reasonable to suppose that the letter was written to Miss L.C. Philpot
at the time that she was editing this work for publication.
Mrs. E.C.C., The Protoplast. A Series of Papers, 2 vols. (London;
Wertheim and Macintosh, 24, Paternoster Row, 1853). The British Library
has a copy of the first edition, but OCLC lists only the second (1855)
edition, and only four holding libraries of that. The author's name is
not given, but is known from other sources. First edition.
Religio-philosophical treatise. The author was well-known as a writer, poet and traveller, and later converted to Catholicism.
BOOTH, Mrs. [Maud] Ballington (1865-1948). Look up and Hope (New York,
A.D.F. Randolph Company 1897). Copyright 1897. 16mo, 45 pp. + ads. OCLC
lists just one copy. It was republished in 1981. First edition.
tract. The Ballington Booths were pioneers of the Salvation Army, but
later resigned from it and set up Volunteers of America. Mrs. Booth
developed an especial interest in prison reform, and this book,
inspired by prison visits, is written to encourage people in prison. My
copy has "How they loved her" under her name in pencil on the title
Mrs. L. Maria. Philothea: A Grecian Romance (New York, C.S. Francis
& Co., 252 Broadway; Boston, J.H. Francis, 125 Washington Street,
1845). "A new and corrected edition" (the novel was first published in
1836). First edition thus.
A romance "of the wildest kind" (author's preface).
- COBBE, Lucie. Doll Stories (London, W. Swan Sonnenschein & Co.,
Paternoster Row, no date, but 1883). Small octavo, 112 pp. + ads.
Illustrated. The book's date can be determined from the ads, which
carry the heading, "New Books...for the Season 1882-3. Not in OCLC, but
COPAC lists one holding library (British Library) and also a second
edition, 1888, also with one holding library (Manchester). First
stories. My copy has a significant flaw; the first leaf of the contents
(pp. 10-11) is missing. Given the apparent scarcity of this book, I
would be interested in replacing the missing leaf with a facsimile.
-COLBORNE, Alice Edith. Alice Colborne's Sufferings, and how she has
been Supported in them (publisher not stated; the date 1889 is given at
the beginning of the text). Charles Jones, Printer, West Harding
Street, London. 16mo, 96 pp. Text ends, "I am, Your loving sister in
Jesus Christ, Alice Edith Colborne (Aged 25 Years), Whitsbury,
Salisbury, Wiltshire". Inscribed "Mrs H. Golding, Three Cross,
Ringwood, Hants. The gift of her neice F. [?] G., the sister of the
writer. May, 1891". No other copies of this book or references to the
author have yet come to light. First edition.
Spiritual autobiography. Alice Colborne was taken ill in
her late teens and confined mainly to her bed for several years. "My dear Brother or Sister," she writes in a short preface beneath the title, "if you are afflicted, do rejoice with me, not because we are suffering, but because it will be ended here...May we meet above." The book was apparently privately-published.
CONWAY, Katherine E. A Lady and Her Letters (Boston, Pilot Publishing
Company, 1895). Fourth edition. 12mo, 90 pp. + ads. OCLC lists only ten
holding libraries of copies dating from 1895 (and only 16 copies
etiquette surrounding writing and receiving letters (for example, a
young lady in a strange city should write frequently to her mother).
-COOK, Eliza (1818-1889). Autograph poem and dedication (undated).
"To one who said that the death of my Mother would leave a scar on my heart
"What stroke indeed would deeply gash
This heart - too prone to feel -
But oh! it could not leave a scar
The wound would never heal
Eliza Cook's most famous poem - "The
Old Arm-Chair" (first published in 1832) - is about the death of her
mother, and it is especially pleasing to have this short poem penned by
her hand on the same subject. I have yet to confirm whether it was ever
Eliza (1818-1889), Diamond Dust. By Eliza Cook (London; F. Pitman, 20,
Paternoster Row, E.C., ). 12mo, preface + 192 pp. + ads. First
Collection of aphorisms.
Eliza (1818-1889), Jottings from my Journal by Eliza Cook (London;
Routledge, Warne & Routledge, Farringdon Street. New York; 56,
Walker Street, 1869). 16mo, 348 pp. With a signed dedication from the
author on the title page: "To Dr. Saml. Wilks With the Grateful comp[limen]ts of Eliza Cook". First edition.
on various topics. Subjects include "Our first Sweetheart", "Music",
"Our Second Sweetheart", "A Word on Slang" and "Partnership in
Happiness". Eliza Cook's Journal first appeared in 1849 and continued
until 1854. The dedicatee is probably the Samuel Wilks who published
the first description of ulcerative colitis in the London Medical
Eliza (1818-1889), New Echoes and Other Poems. By Eliza Cook (London;
Routledge, Warne, & Routledge, Broadway, Ludgate Hill. New York;
129, Grand Street, 1864. First edition.
Marie (Mary Mills or Minnie Mackay, 1855-1924). Autograph letter to Sir
James Forrest, New Lyric Club, on embossed notepaper with a London
address (47, Longridge Road, Earl's Court. S.W.).
"Dear Sir James,
"I am very sorry that we are unable to accept your kind
invitation for tomorrow night, owing to a previous engagement. Thanks
for your good opinion of the 'Sorrows of Satan.' I regret that the
prototype of 'Mavis Clare' is not myself but another living original.
The silly gossips who think it is me are led astray by the initials of
the name, M.C. As a matter of fact I had written half the story with
her name as 'Mavis Dare', but happening to read a story where the
girl's name is 'Alice Dare' I thought I should be accused of taking
that name, so altered Dare to Clare. One can, however, never escape
"Yours very sincerely,
make no pretence to any great knowledge of Marie Corelli, but I
contacted Jessica Salmonson, whose online critique of Corelli can be
found HERE. She was of the opinion that the letter cannot be taken at face value:
Corelli wrote many such disclaimers...Mavis Clare dresses in white
gowns excactly like the one Marie is wearing in the 1904 photograph in The Strand
that Bertha took, & which was professionally touched up to give
Marie a maidenly appearance...In essence the story contrasts a
'typical' male author full of envy & misogyny attacking a woman
writer who is angelic, youthful, beautiful, & of course
fantastically talented with an extravagantly devoted public following,
such as critical male authors always lack. This is exactly how Marie
perceived herself whenever she was set-upon by some snobby, snotty, or
even merely literary critic attempting a balanced assessment...But
having made her often-repeated arguments & claims, this time in the
form of a fictional character like Mavis Clare, her usual critics
in the press had a field day of scoffing & laughter, inducing her
as often to write angry letters to everyone who made fun of her, &
denials to everyone who seemed friendly but was curious." (Private correspondence.)
If anyone knows of a novel of the period with a
protagonist named Alice Dare that would lend weight to Corelli's
assertion. As it is, though, I guess it should be taken with a pinch of
Marie (Mary Mills or Minnie Mackay, 1855-1924). The Sorrows of Satan,
or The Strange Experience of one Geoffrey Tempest, Millionaire (London;
Methuen and Co., 36 Essex street, Strand, 1895). Octavo, 487 pp. + ads.
32 pp.; the ads are dated September, 1895. At the head of the first
chapter there is a "Special Notice", reading, "No
copies of this book are sent out for Review. Members of the press will
therefore obtain it (should they wish to do so) in the usual way with
the rest of the public, i.e., through the Booksellers and Libraries." First edition.
Novel. A trendsetting landmark - apart from anything else it broke all
records for sales when it first appeared, making it one of the first
bestsellers. It is the second part of a trilogy, the first part being
Barabbas and the last part The Master-Christian.
-COSGRAVE, Anna MacDowel. Life Studies in Palmistry. Co-authored with Ina Oxenford (q.v.).
Mrs. George. Alice Leighton (Anne Jane Dunne Douglas); or, A Good Name
is Rather to be Chosen than Riches. A Tale for the Young. By Mrs.
George Cupples, author of "The Story of our Doll", "The Little
Captain", etc., etc. (London; T. Nelson and Sons, Paternoster Row;
Edinburgh and New York, 1875). Cover pastedown and frontispiece in
colour, black and white illustrations throughout. 16mo, xxii + 72 pp.
OLCL lists two previous editions (1869 and 1874) and one subsequent
edition (1883), with a total of 8 holding libraries.
A moral tale for children.
DALL, Caroline Wells Healey. Editor of Mary Elizabeth Zakrzewska's autobiography (q.v.).
-DELMAR (Dora Delmar). Had She Foreseen! (Chicago, M.A. Donahue and
Company, n.d.). Octavo, 275 pp. + 14 pp., the last part being a short
story by Frances Henshaw Baden (q.v.). Presumably a reprint of the
first edition (G. Munro's Sons, 1893, pp. 275). OCLC lists one holding
library for the first edition, and one for a 1928 edition, but this
edition is not listed. The author's surname appears on the spine, but
not on the title page.
fiction. The story is set in England, but apparently not published in
the UK. It's an implausible tale of villainy and its unmasking, but
quite well told, and - like much of the romantic fiction of the late
19th century - the verve and initiative of the female protagonist make
her a role model for the newly-dawning feminist prespective.
-DIXIE, Lady Florence (1855-1905). Autograph letter, dated December
22nd, 1893. Sent from Rosehill Parish, Cornwall. To the editor of the
Pall Mall Budget.
Sir, I am copying into M.S. form, with a view to future publication,
from the diary of a lady, whose name I cannot divulge. It is entitled
'Jean Roy's diary or The Career of a Lonely Woman.' The diary opens in
1874, giving a glimpse of Jean Roy at 15. It passes on quickly to the
end of 1880...and the remainder of the diary deals with her somewhat
eventful and stirring life up to May 1891... The reason of this
explanation is to ask you if you would like to secure the right to
publish this Diary in The Pall Mall Budget before I issue it in book
form...I have copied and enclose you a...set of lines written by my
eldest boy [not present], a little midshipman in the Royal Navy.
If you would like to publish them in the Pall Mall you are very
welcome, but I must ask you to keep the author's name private…"
An intriguing letter; I have not been able to trace Jean Roy's diary or the poem written by Lady Dixie's son.
-DIXIE, Lady Florence. Autograph letter, dated June 9th, 1902. Sent from Glen Stuart, Annan. To the editor of Sporting Luck.
Mr. Stoddart. I too hope you will get off your unjust sentence, but of
course I do not know whether my interposition will be successful or
not. If it is let me know, & I shall be very pleased. I think I
have succeeded in helping one more fellow creature of the earth...I
send you 2 'Ramblers' [not present]; one contains my 'No. III
Ramble in the Hills', the other 'A Sermon from the Hills'...I do not
know if they are suitable for reproduction in Sporting Luck...
'Mock Turtle' is also a very amusing 'skit' of Mr. Herbert Vivian's...I
like racing and racehorses because I think it is a true sport and shorn
of all Cruelty, which I loathe, be it to man or the dumb creation. I am
a humanitarian and feel for all."
Vivian was, like Lady Dixie herself, primarily a travel writer, known
best for his books on Tunisa and Abyssinia. I don't know what offence
Mr. Stoddart was convicted of, but it appears it all had a happy
outcome (see following entry).
-DIXIE, Lady Florence.
Autograph letter, dated October 2nd, 1902. Sent from Glen Stuart,
Annan. To the editor of Sporting Luck.
Mr. Stoddart, I am very glad. I felt sure the personal petition I made
in the quarter I said I wld, would result in success, but did not like
to be too sanguine. You will of course regard the matter as private, as
-DIXIE, Lady Florence. Autograph letter, dated January 4th, 1904. Sent from Glen Stuart, Annan.
recipient of this letter is unknown, but appears to be a publisher who
has asked her for an "anecdote", which she promises to send as soon as
possible. She mentions two Journals - Towards Freedom and The Humane
Review - which she hopes the addressee will subscribe to.
-DIXIE, Lady Florence. Autograph letter, no date. Sent from The Fishery, Windsor
Response to fan mail, sending the addressee her autograph, as requested.
-DIXIE, Lady Florence. Aniwee, or The Warrior Queen (London, Henry and
Company, Bouverie Street, E.C., 1890). Octavo, 286 pp. + 2 pp. ads. A
difficult Dixie title; very few copies listed. First edition.
adventure story for boys. Lady Dixie is best-known for her account of
her travels in Patagonia, where Aniwee is set. She was also a noted
campaigner for women's rights.
-DOUGLAS, Anne Jane Dunne (see CUPPLES, Mrs. George).
-DUCHESS, The (See HUNGERFORD, Mrs)
-EDWARDS, Amelia [Ann] B[landford] (1831-92). Autograph letter、dated
November 18th, 1880. Sent from 8 Albert Building, Weston Super Mare. To
"Pop". A small piece torn from one leaf affects a few words, but the
sense is recoverable; the missing or partial letters are in square
brackets in the transcription.
"My dearest Pop--Thank you heartily for your interesting
& amusing letter. I did not believe it; but it is all the more
welcome. I have sent you a Tauchnitz copy of "Lord Brackenbury"
(reprinted). I could not bear you to be seeing scraps of that
story--which I really believe is the best I have written, & which I
do wish you to read, at all events, in a consecutive and comfortable
way. Besides the Tauchnitz is really the best printed and most correct
of the 12 editions which have already appeared. Hurst and
Blacketts two library editions are full of faults--as are the
three American ones, & all the colonial ones, & the Stuttgart
one. But Tauchnitz had my latest and most careful revision, & is
worth all the rest. It has been a lucky book, and no mistake. I have had a letter from Hurst and Blackett this morning to say they are going to issue a third three
vol: edition, & mean to include it (in one volume) in their
standard library in the spring. And it is being translated into German,
and Russian. By the time you come home it will have appeared in 14 or
15 editions. Of course I am very glad. It is several years now since I
brought out a 3 vol: novel; & I am thankful it should not be said
that I am falling off & worn out. Though I suppose I must fall off
and wear out someday! I was awfully knocked up at the last in having to
work at high pressure the last three months. When the task was done, I
went to Ramsgate & spent 10 days at The Granville, taking
hot sea baths, and a dose of ultra rest--then a few days at Margate on
Sea--then a rush to Malvira [?] - then a month at Torquay with Mrs
Braysher - & from Torquay we came on here, which is where Mrs B. is
going to spend the winter. I shall oscillate between Weston and
Worthing--going home next week for a spell of hard work, coming back on
ticket of leave for a fortnight at Christmas, &ditto ditto. The
last I heard of the Symonds's was a post ca[rd from] him, from Davis
[?]. When I heard how he was taken ill [at] Geneva, I wrote in a great
fright first to Miss Alleyne & then to Johnnie. He said very little
about himself in reply, & filled the post card with "Lord B", which
he also thinks the best story I have written. Still he said that he was
"better, though still weak". Poor dear fellow! The last day I called at
Clifton to bid them goodbye, he was in bed, & we had afternoon tea
at his bedside. He looked like a lad of eighteen or twenty or so--so
young & boyish & delicate. I kissed him when I went away--the
first time--perhaps the last. It gave me a heartache to say goodbye. I
could not help asking myself if I should ever see him again It was all
very sad--the dismantled house, the packing cases in the hall--the
heavy feeling of parting & breaking up old ties & associations.
U am hatching a novel in my head now--having had three months holiday,
& feeling that I ought to be putting my neck into the horse-collar
again. I am overwhelmed just now, too, by invitations from
America--about a score of houses open to me, & everyone entreating
me to go there first. I wish I could go--but I don't feel I
dare leave the Atlantic between Mrs Braysher and myself. She is too old
and delicate now for me to feel any peace when very far away. But I am
longing to go, for all that & I believe I should have a good time.
Of news, dearest Pop, I have not the merest fag-end for you. You know
what a recluse I am become, & how entirely I have given up society.
In this place I know no one hardly, & live as cheerfully &
sociably as a periwinkle on a rock. Weston is, you know, "remote,
unfriended, melancholy, slow" - oh, so slow! And Worthing is the same,
with a difference. Thank you heartily for so kindly giving me the
hospitality of the flat. I have to go to town for a we[ek] or ten days
some time in the early par[t] of 1881, & since you give me the
permission I will gladly take advantage of your invitation & of
"I am so glad you are enjoying the big
island--& much interested in your description of the queer trees,
&c &c. I have read somewhere of Australian trees whose leaves
grow sideways--Have you seen those? Or is it a crammer?
"Mrs Braysher sends her love cordially back to you.
She was greatly pleased at your kind message. Poor dear, a little
kindness & attention make her very happy. She has a most
affectionate & warm heart.
"Goodbye, dearest old friend. I am so glad I was
wrong about the time--one year is ever so much better than two--hurrah!
"Ever your loving friend Amelia B. Edwards
"If ever you would like a little paragraph in The
Graphic or Academy, send me the particulars & I will do the deed.
My penny whistle is always at your service.
"Latest Intelligence. Third library Edition of "Lord B" out today!!!"
A gem of a letter, which I have reproduced complete. I
have not been able to trace who "Pop" is, but Mrs Braysher was Amelia
Edwards' lifelong friend and companion, and Johnnie Symonds is John
Addington Symonds (1840-1893), described by Rictor Norton as "a pioneer
in the field of gay rights…the first modern historian of (male)
homosexuality, and the first advocate of gay liberation in Britain" (source).
Amelia Edwards herself, in addition to her three careers as a novelist,
a journalist and an Egyptologist, was a prominent champion of women's
rights in the late Victorian period. There is a useful account of her
life, linked to a bibliography of her works, here.
This letter gives a fascinating insight into
Edwards' life at the point when she reached her pinnacle as a writer (Lord Brackenberry was
a runaway success), and anticipates her triumphal tour of America
(1889-90), when she lectured on "Pharaohs, Fellas, and Explorers". The
letter shows her at the height of popular success, yet living as
reclusively "as a periwinkle on a rock", and planning another novel,
which in fact was never written, as her energies were devoted
increasingly to Egyptology.
[Ann] B[landford]. Lord Brackenberry, a Novel…Copyright Edition.
Collection of British authors, vol. 1926 (Leipzig, Bernhard Tauchnitz,
1880). Two Volumes. 12mo., 328 + 320 pp. Erratum noted on last page of
second volume. First printing of the Tauchnitz edition.
most successful novel, in the edition that she herself preferred (see
autograph letter, above). The contents are preceded by Edwards' letter "To the Editor of the Academy":
"Will you kindly grant me space to say--for perhaps
the tenth time within the last twenty years--that my name is neither
Betham nor Betham-Edwards; and that I am not related to the Betham
is more, explaining that Miss Bentham-Edwards is her cousin (also the
author of numerous publications), and she signs herself emphatically "AMELIA B. (Blandford) EDWARDS". I have therefore given her second middle name as Blandford (with a "d"), although it is often spelled without.
(HURLBUT, Ella Childs). Philippa or Under a Cloud (New York, Cassell
Publishing Company, 104 & 106 Fourth Avenue, n.d., copyright 1891).
Tall 16mo (18 x 10 cm.), 139 pp. Fifth (and latest) title in the
"Unknown Library" series. OCLC lists only ten holding libraries. First
novella. The protagonist, the daughter of a convict, finds a suitor who
cares enough about her not to be put off by any scandal.
-ELIOT, George (Mary Ann Evans, 1819-80). Felix Holt, The Radical
(Edinburgh and London, William Blackwood and Sons, 1866). Three
volumes. Octavo, 303 + 290 + 283 pp. + ads. First edition.
Apart from her talent as a novelist, George Eliot stands out among
Victorian women for her lifelong relationship with George Henry Lewes,
whose adulterous wife had left him for another man.
-EVANS, Mary Ann (see George Eliot).
-EWING, Juliana Horatia. Convalescence (London, Society for Promoting
Christian Knowledge; New York, E. and J.R. Young and Co., n.d.). 12mo,
32 pp. Illustrated by One of a series of six, entitled "Poems of Child
Life and Country Life". OCLC cites editions of 1883 and 1885, with a
total of eight holding libraries. The illustration on the last page
bears the legend H.M.S. Victory at Portsmouth, 1884.
Chidren's book on fortitude; "If the courage that dares, and the courage that bears, are really one and the same" then the little convalescent boy may one day grow up to be a brave sea captain.
-EWING, Juliana Horatia. Jackanapes (London, Society for Promoting
Christian Knowledge; New York, E. and J.R. Young and Co., 1884).
Octavo, 47 pp. Illustrated by Randolph Caldecott. Second issue (UK,
with the one shilling price on the cover), with "Why" instead of "Egad"
at the end of p. 27 and correct page number on frontispiece.
book on the theme of "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori". A very
popular work, that has been frequently reprinted. There is a useful
website, Juliana Horatia Ewing and Her Books, which includes a link to an online version of the text.
Christine (pseudonym). A Mother's Sacrifice (New York; P.J. Kenedy
& Sons, 44, Barclay Street, no date; copyright 1891 by P.J.
Kenedy). Octavo, 516 pp. Apparently the second edition, perhaps
revised. OCLC lists an edition of 1885, by the same publisher, with
very few holding libraries of either edition.
Catholic romantic fiction. The opening scene - "The rigid corpse lying on the marble table in the morgue was a ghastly sight..."
- is a real attention-grabber! The plot is based on the motif of a
young woman's love for a man who believes he has committed murder (cf.
E.D.E.N. Southworth's trilogy, A Deed without a Name, Emily Harcourt's
Secret and To his Fate). Of course, it transpires in the end that he is
not a murderer; in this case, someone came along after the hero had
wounded the man - who, needless to say, is a villain of the worst order
whom the world is far better off without - and delivered the fatal
blow. The plot is rendered even more implausible by the introduction of
a supposed vigilante organisation (called "Roquelare"), whose members
spare no expense and sacrifice months - even years - of their lives
feigning friendship to get into people's confidence in order to unmask
-FOSTER, Hannah A., Hilda.
A Poem. By Hannah A. Foster. Illustrated (Philadelphia; J.P. Lippinctt
& Co., 1879). 12mo, 101 pp. OCLC lists a dozen holding libraries.
A poem about the Civil War:
"To arms, ye Northmen! Don your suits of blue,
And for the 'dear old flag' brave thickest fight.
Forth from your sunny homes, ye men of might!
Strike for your 'stars and bars' with valor true."
interwoven with the events of history is the fate of Hilda, thought to
have been drowned, but reunited at the last with her sister Amy.
Sarah Maria]. Little Jessie's Work, and The Broken Rosebuds (New York,
Carlton and Porter, Sunday-School Union, 209 Mulberry-Street, 1857).
16mo, 88 pp. Two engravings. OCLC lists four copies. First edition.
Moral tales for children.
-GRAVES, Mrs. A.J.. Woman in America; being an Examination into the
Moral and Intellectual Condition of American Female Society (New York;
Harper and Brothers, School District Library Series, No. 184, 1844).
16mo, 262 pp. First published in 1841; this is the sixth edition. OCLC
lists eleven editions, with over 200 holding libraries.
feminist tract. Not a great find from a book-collecting point of view,
but interesting in terms of its contents. The book has chapters on
domestic women, fashionable women, religious women, intellectual women
and women who are morally great. The author does not go into personal
biographies, but deals with the topics in a general way. She argues
that the education and personal development of women is conformable
with the needs of society (i.e., that fostering a sense of identity and
personal worth will not stop women from being homemakers and
childraisers and so on); "We condemn the
Chinese for barbarously crippling the feet of their women, while we,
with scarcely more humanity, and with deeper injury, cripple in ours
the growth of all that is vigorous in thought or energetic in action,
by keeping them bound from infancy to maturity in habits of indolence,
and of helpless dependance." Graves also wrote Girlhood and Womanhood, published in 1844.
-HUBBARD, Elbert. Little Journeys to the Homes of Famous Women (n.d.,
copyright 1897, New York and London, G.P. Putman's Sons). 12mo, 429 pp.
+ 4 pp. ads. Third and latest title in the "Little Journeys" series.
Signed and inscribed by the author, "To that worthy Ishadili, Mr. Hewitt Hanson Howland, with all good wishes from his friend, Elbert Hubbard". First edition.
interesting insight into which women were considered noteworthy in the
late 19th century. Contains a short biographical account of Elizabeth
Barrett Browning, Madame Guyon, Harriet Martineau, Charlotte Bronte,
Christina Rossetti, Rosa Bonheur, Madame de Stael, Elizabeth Fry, Mary
Lamb, Jane Austen, Empress Josephine and Mary W. Shelley, with an
engraved portrait of each. (Elbert Hubbard, to whom the book is
inscribed, was a writer and anthologist.)
-HURLBUT, Ella Childs (see ELLA).
-HUNGERFORD, Mrs. Conquering Heroine (Chicago, W.E. Conkey, n.d.,
Copyright 1892 by United States Book Company). OCLC lists 13 copies in
four editions, including two copies of this edition.
novel. The rather slight plot deals with the reactions of a fashionable
English set when an attractive young Irish woman lands in their midst.
She ends up falling for none of her English suitors and marries her
-LE PLONGEON, Alice D[ixon]. Here and
There in Yucatan. Miscellanies by Alice D. Le Plongeon, author of
Yucatan - its Ancient Palaces and Modern Cities (New York; J.W. Bouton,
706 Broadway, 1886). Inscribed "To John D. Crimmins Esq. With the compliments of the author Brooklyn N.Y. January 1898". 12mo, preface + 146 pp. The frontispiece portrait of the author also carries the legend "Very truly yours Alice D. Le Plongeon".
The dedication is unquestionably authentic but frontispiece signatures
very often facsimiles and it is unusual to have a book that is doubly
inscribed. However, under magnification this one shows all the features
of fading, bleeding, etc., that betoken a genuine holograph. I have not
yet had a chance to compare it with another copy of the book. First
Travel/sociology. Le Plongeon was an acknowledged expert on Mayan
culture and a feminist (see, e.g., her article on women's suffrage, "A
Thought on Government", Woman's Tribune, 14 January 1899). The
dedicatee, Crimmins - a well-known figure in the New York of his day -
was a democrat, a Catholic, a building constructor, a philanthropist
and a noted collector of books and manuscripts. This inscription,
showing an interesting association between the two, is very pleasing,
whether or not the other (signed) inscription turns out to be a
-MACCHETTA, Mme (see ROOSEVELT, Blanche).
-MACKAY, Minnie (see CORELLI, Marie).
-MADDEN, Mary Anne (see SADLIER, Mrs. James).
-MILLER, Mrs. Mary E., Riverside Farmhouse. By Mrs. M.E. Miller (New
York; American Tract Society, 150 Nassau Street, not dated; copyright
1875). 16mo, 48 pp. Four chromolithographs pasted in, plus front cover
pastedown. OCLC lists two copies. First edition(?).
Moral tale for children. Mary Miller wrote several tales
of this kind, most of them published by the American Tract Society.
-MILLS, Mary (see CORELLI, Marie).
Alicia A[nna]. Notes on the Journey. Privately-published.? N.d., but
sometime after the author's death in 1898. Signed with a dedication by
A kind of scrap book of Alicia Mulvany's life. Along with some
indifferent verse is her diary (mainly recounting travels in Europe),
written in doggerel verse. Here, as a modest and fairly representative
example, is the entry for July 23rd, 1891:
"A letter this morning from Milly Mulvany,
Poor Mrs. Vidal hardly slept any,
And I, also, had no easy night,
So both decided it would not be right,
That she or I should e'en venture to go,
To coffee to Frau Pastor Balsters, so
Mabel and Annabel start about three,
Mabel in white, all white as could be,
Bridal her robes she had written a letter,
Which may her fate decidedly fetter;
I wrote a long epistle to Frank,
For his photos to Nannie and me to thank,
We sat in our little "keep" next the tower,
I read my 'Oberhof journal' aloud for an hour."
-MURRAY, Mrs. Elizabeth. Sixteen Years of an Artist's Life in Morocco,
Spain, and the Canary Islands (2 vols., London, Hurst and Blackett,
Successors to Henry Colburn, 15, Great Marlborough Street, 1859).
Octavo, 352 + 344 pp. + ads. COPAC lists five holding libraries. First
literature. There are a couple of pencilled comments in the margin by
someone who evidently knew both Mrs. Murray and some of the places and
people she writes about. The comments are essentially unfavourable,
suggesting she was ungenerous and unduly distrustful of the local
people. She appears to be pretty much forgotten these days, but gains a
mention in a Spanish language website on the relations between Britain and the Canary Islands,
where she is listed among the "curiosos impertinentes" (impertinent
nosey-parkers) who published views of the islands in the 19th century.
Mary. Kitty and her Queen. A Story from English History by Mary Onley,
author of "Bonnie Jeannie", "Above the Breakers," "Carry your Parcel,"
&c. (London: Jarrold & Sons, 10 and 11, Warwick Lane, E.C.)
Third edition. No date, but the only other copy I can trace (held by
the British Museum, edition not stated) is dated .
-OXENFORD, Ina, and COSGRAVE, Anna MacDowel. Life Studies in Palmistry
(London, L. Upcott Gill, 170, Strand, W.C., 1899). Large octavo (over
24 cm. high), 80 pp. Complete with index, and illustrated throughout
with palms of people from various walks of life. OCLC lists six holding
libraries. The book was reprinted in 1971. First edition.
authors were Fellows of the London Chirological Society; Oxenford is a
"late fellow", and Cosgrave is also a fellow of the Dublin society of
the same name (title page). The treatment, however, is not what I
understand by the term chirology, and is basically chiromancy, or
- PARDOE, Julia (1806-1862).
Autograph poem, entitled The Poet's Prophecy. (Shirley Park, March 4th;
the year is not given, but it probably c. 1835).
"They stood together on the haunted ground
Rich with Bocaccio's memory - 'twas a day
When all was blue and beautiful around,
And sunlight fell in many a glorious ray
On tree and stream; while insects, birds and bees,
Awoke the air with nature's melodies."
is the first of six stanzas. "They" = the poet Leigh Hunt and the
sculptor Richard Westmacott. The scene is Florence in 1825. The poem
describes their premonition while in Italy of the death of Lord Byron,
and ends, "And soon the withering tale of grief was said - / Europe is one long wail - Byron is dead!". I have not yet been able to check through Pardoe's published poetry to see if this is among them.
-PHELPS, Elizabeth Stuart (1844-1911). Autograph letter dated July 17th, 1867. Addressed to the editor of Harper's Magazine.
Sir...Re to my article 'What Shall they do?' it will oblige me much if
it will receive prompt attention; since if you do not wish for it, I
have other use for it…"
The article was in fact published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, vol. 35, issue 208 (September, 1867).
-PHELPS, Elizabeth Stuart. Beyond the Gates (Boston, Houghton, Mifflin
and Company; New York: 11 East Seventeenth Street; The Riverside Press,
Cambridge, 1883). Small octavo, 196 pp. + ads. Reprinted as recently as
Novel. Sequel to The Gates Ajar (q.v.)
-PHELPS, Elizabeth Stuart. The Gates Ajar (Boston, Fields, Osgood &
Co., Successors to Ticknor and Fields, 1869). Small octavo, 248 pp.
Later printing (the first edition was in 1868).
Novel. A huge best-seller in the period after the American Civil War, based on the death of the author's brother during the war.
-PHELPS, Elizabeth Stuart. The Madonna of the Tubs ((Boston and New
York, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, The Riverside Press, Cambridge,
1887). Illustrated by Ross Turner and George H. Clements. Octavo, 94
pp. Second edition (the first was in 1886).
Phelps's later works never achieved the popularity of her first book
(The Gates Ajar), but she is increasingly recognised as an important
figure of her period. There are numerous websites on her; here is an example.
-[ROOSEVELT, Blanche] (1853-98), Marked "In Haste." A Story of To-Day
(New York: Trow's Printing and Bookbinding Co., 201-213 East Twelfth
Street, 1893). Octavo, 362 pp., preceded by a 2-page preface and a
table of contents. OCLC lists three editions, the first and third being
comparatively scarce. This copy is the more frequently-found second
novel, published anonymously. Roosevelt had a short but very full life.
She was a soprano opera singer, a novelist, the wife of an Italian
aristocrat, and the mistress of Guy de Maupassant. Of several potted
online biographies, I liked this one--which takes her with a pinch of salt--the best.
-ROSAVILLA, Mme (See ROOSEVELT, Blanche).
-SADLIER, Mrs. James, (Mary Anne Madden, 1820-1903). The Priest's
Sister; or, The Silent Sufferings of a Blighted Heart by D.G.D., author
of "The Priest's Prophecy", etc. (New York: P.J. Kenedy, publisher to
the Holy Apostolic See, Excelsior Catholic Publishing House, 5 Barclay
Street, 1899). Copyright D. & J. Sadlier and Co., 1899. Bound
together with The Inheritance, translated from the French of Rodolph
Topffer, author of "The Geneva Novels". The cover (blue cloth with
brown ornamentation and gilt title) carries the words "Laetare Series"
and "Mrs. Sadlier's Translations". 12mo, 82 pp. + ads. LoC lists some
29 works by Mrs. Sadlier, including translations, but does not list
either of these titles, which I can find no reference to anywhere. "The
Priest's Prophecy" is a translated extract from Topffer's "Nouvelles
Genevoises". First edition.
Catholic novellas. The first is a moral fable on the theme of
forgiveness, set in Ireland. Despite the initials "D.G.D" on the title
page, it was, according to the ads at the back of the book, written by
Sadlier, who was born in County Cavan. The second is a romance set in
Switzerland, and translated by Sadlier with an interesting preface in
which she cites Scott, Thackeray and Dickens with approval, and praises
Topffer's "pure and classic" style, but disparages the "false taste of modern French light literature, represented by Dumas, George Sand, and Victor Hugo," adding, "Their style is sensational in the extreme, often immoral, and always corrupting".
There appears to be only one other translation of any of Topffer's work
into English - The adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck, London, Tilt and
Bogue [1841?], printed by Bradbury and Evans - and there seems to be
some doubt about whether that is really Topffer's work or not.
There are quite a few references to Mrs. Sadlier online, including her biography in the Catholic Encyclopedia.
Her husband was a Montreal publisher (hence the Sadlier name in the
copyright statement), and old copies of her works are fairly easy to
come by, but please let me know if you find these titles, which appear
to be scarce. I cannot even discover whether there was a Canadian
edition of them.
SHEPHERD, Mrs. Margaret L. The Pope, the Jesuits, and the People
(Boston, [publisher not stated] 1890). Copyright, 1889. 12mo, 252 pp. +
ads. OCLC lists only three holding libraries. Soft cover. First edition.
tract. Shepherd was President of the "Loyal Women of American Liberty"
(as stated on the cover of this book) and the author of several
Lydia Huntley. Poems; by Mrs. L.H. Huntley (Philadelphia; Key and
Biddle, 23 Minor Street, 1834). 12mo, 288 pp., on two paper stocks,
with cancels, as called for, and with half-title and errata, but
without the publisher's catalogue that is appended to some copies.
Sigourney was one of the first American women to make a career out of
writing. There is plenty of information available about her, so I won't
take up space here!
-SOUTHWORTH, Mrs. Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte (1819-99). A Deed without
a Name, Dorothy Harcourt's Secret and To his Fate (New York; A.L. Burt
Company, no date; copyright 1885 and 1886 by Robert Bonner). A trilogy.
Three volumes, octavo, 347 pp. + ads., 336 pp. + ads. and 347 pp. +
ads. The ads. are the same in all three volumes. The text of the first
two volumes ends announcing a continuation "published in cloth binding uniform with this volume".
The ornamented design on the bindings is slightly different on all
three volumes, indicating that they may be different printings.
Possible first editions.
fiction. A.L. Burt, usually thought of as a reprint publisher, was
apparently the original publisher of this work. Southworth's world - of
powerful emancipated women and jovial unemancipated "Negroes" - is, in
many ways, the same world that Margaret Mitchell portrays in Gone with
the Wind. The heroine, Roma, is "a
magnificent blonde beauty of the goddess Juno type, tall,
broad-shouldered...In character she was true, just, intellectual and
independent. In temperament gay, serene, affectionate and
benevolent." Even when a dastardly
villain holds her captive on a remote island (in the first volume of
the trilogy) she remains cool and calm and collected, calculating as he
advances on her just precisely where she will shoot him so as to maim,
rather than kill him (in fact, he collapses in a drunken heap as
she fires, and her bullet misses its mark). Roma has overlooked many
more outwardly successful men and fallen for one William Harcourt but,
unknown to her, in a moment of weakness a scoundrel has lured Harcourt
into getting drunk and gambling away another man's money. Harcourt
knows he has been tricked and attempts to get the money back, but is
confronted by the villain with a gun. The gun goes off and the man is
killed, but of course it transpires at the end that it was not this
shot that killed him, but another, fired at the same instant (cf.
Christine Faber, A Mother's Sacrifice, for the same motif of a
star-crossed lover who thinks he is a murderer).
About the only flaw in Roma's armour is her choice
of sweetheart. He succumbs to blackmail and lands her squarely in the
tight spots she contrives to get out of. The reader can only marvel,
like her old friend Mr. Merritt, "That such a glorious woman as Roma Fronde should care for such a poor fellow as Will Harcourt!" But it is part of her perfection that, "once having given my love, I have given it forever, and can never recall it again."
Despite the essential implausibility of the plot
(which, after all, is nothing unusual in 19th century novels),
Southworth conveys a strong sense of character and setting, bringing
each scene to life and carrying the reader from page to page with
assurance. I can quite see why she was so popular in her day, and the
verve and poise of the female characters (notably, but not uniquely,
the heroine) must have been especially appealing to women. The way in
which Roma devotes her considerable financial resources to such
projects as building a school for "Negroes" and staffing it with female
teachers is just one of many explicitly feminist-reformist motifs
running through these books.
Mary Elizabeth (1838-?). The Autobiography of Elizabeth Squirrell of
Shottisham, and Selections from her Writings: Together with an
examination and defence of her statements relative to her sufferings,
blindness, deafness, entire abstinence from food and drink during
twenty-five weeks, and other extraordinary phenomena: Also Facts and
Opinions Illustrative and Suggestive: by One of her Watchers (London;
Simpkin, Marshall & Co., Stationers' Hall Court, 1853). 12mo, 300
pp. OCLC lists seven holding libraries, and cites a second edition of
1900, but I can find no other reference to the reprint. First edition.
autobiography/paranormal phenomena. The British Library also holds what
may be the only copy of a 16-page pamphlet entitled The
extraordinary case of fasting [by M. E. Squirrell] at Shottisham ...;
and twenty-one extraordinary cases of persons abstaining from ... food
... from two to forty years, etc. (London; H. Elliot, 1852). The claims
made in the present work are less extravagant. Squirrell's
autobiographical account ends on page 49, and is dated February, 1853,
when she would have been just coming up to her fourteenth birthday. She
describes epileptic fits and other afflictions, including blindness and
the inability to take food (even milk, she says, would not pass her
oesophagus, though she believes she derived some nourishment from
taking mouthfuls of it and ejecting them after absorbing a small
quantity), and goes on to describe such phenomena as communication with
the spirit world, "my ability, or, as it is now called, my alleged ability to read shorthand by touch" and the spontaneous ringing of a glass ("an ordinary and half-sized tumbler"). It is hard not to believe in the sincerity of her account, as she writes, "If
I am self-deceived, it does not follow that I am guilty of imposition.
If I am diseased in mind, am I not an object of pity, rather than
scoff?". The language throughout is not at
all what one would expect from a girl of thirteen, but then, by all
accounts, she was a rather extraordinary girl!
The middle section of the book, up to page 169,
couched - rather unfortunately, I feel - in the form of an imaginary
dialogue, discusses the case with reference to various authorities and
citing numerous similar cases on record. There follow testimonies of
some of those appointed to watch Elizabeth Squirrell and judge the
veracity of her case. Then come various letters, medical statements,
extracts from Squirrell's diary, etc.
The International Genealogical Index confirms that
Elizabeth's parents - Asaph and Martha - were married in Ipswich in
1835, though there is no record of them having had any children. Even
so, the array of correspondence and medical and other opinion confirms
pretty conclusively that she did indeed exist. Just for example, there
is the testimony of David Geoffrey Goyder (pp. 176-79), who writes, "I
have never seen so much beauty and sweetness, blended with so much
meekness of wisdom, as in the case of this young girl. I am in no wise
disposed to discredit her assertion, that she is in communication with
angels. I believe I have been made better by being permitted to hold
conversation with her, and by the confidence with which she speaks of
the bright and glorious spirit-land." Goyder
was born in 1831. He published commentaries on the Bible and lectures
on Freemasonry. The authenticity of his testimony is not really open to
dispute. The chief weakness of the whole account lies, I think, in the
anonymity of the editorial hand. Whoever compiled these observations
was not willing to risk his (or her) professional reputation by putting
a name to them.
Margaret Bertha. A Helping Hand, by M.B. Synge Author of "Jem's Wife,"
"Granny," "A Child of the Mews," &c. &c. (London, Edinburgh and
New York; Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1898). 12mo, 192 pp. The only library
copy I can trace is held by the British library. First edition.
religious novel, extolling temperance/abstinence. The hero has fallen
to the depths through alcohol, but raised to grace again through the
offices of a pious woman and his own basically decent nature.
Edith Matilda. The Round Year by Edith M. Thomas (Boston and New York;
Houghton, Mifflin and Company, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1886).
12mo, 296 pp. + ads. First edition.
Reflections on the wonders and beauty of nature.
Lucy Goodman]. The Missionary's Daughter; A Memoir of Lucy Goodman
Thurston, of the Sandwich Islands (New York; American Tract Society,
150 Nassau-Street, n.d., copyright 1842 by A.P. Cummings). Youth's
Library, No. 20. 16mo, 219 pp. + ads. Later printing, probably c. 1850,
judging from the ads at the back of the book.
based on journal and letters. The first edition (also by the American
Tract society) had eleven black and white plates, unfortunately absent
in this edition, which is basically just a reading copy. The book was
actually written by A.P. Cummings, editor of the New York Observer,
with several introductory chapters followed by extracts from Lucy
Goodman's journal and letters. She was just seventeen when she died,
three weeks after arriving in the United States, and this memoir tells
of her life in Hawaii. One would like to have had her unexpurgated
journal and letters, rather than having them edited by a man who sees
the people of Hawai as "a nation of ignorant, degraded, naked savages",
except where enlightened by Christianity. The extracts in Lucy
Goodman's own words are much the more interesting parts of the book,
giving a fascinating insight into daily life. She tells us, for
example, that in 1837 Chief Kuakini, the governor of Hawaii, "enacted
several laws with reference to the church. After two months, no woman
will be allowed to enter it without a bonnet...Any one caught asleep,
is rapped on the forehead with a long cane. He has also made a law for
his own yard. Any woman entering it without a bonnet is condemned to
have her hair shorn off close to her head." The following year Kuakini "commenced a factory in this village for spinning and weaving cotton".
Thurston began writing her journal at the age of eight, and in it she
records that from the age of nine or ten she was a teacher of "little native girls",
some of whom became close friends. One of them wrote a letter to her
(in Hawaiian, which she learned alongside Latin) five years later, when
she was in Honolulu, which is also included (with a translation) in the
- TUCKER, Maria Charlotte (1821-1893). Precepts in Practice; or,
Stories Illustrating the Proverbs by A.L.O.E., authoress of "Claremont
Tales," "Adopted Son," "Young Pilgrim," "Giant Killer and Sequel,"
"Needle and Rat," "Flora," "Eddy Ellerslie and the Mine," etc., etc.
(New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, No. 520 Broadway. 1867). OCLC
lists 13 copies in 5 editions between 1859 and 1894, but does not list
-WEBSTER, Grace (1802-1874). Untitled manuscript (juvenilia). A small
notebook (watermarked 1810) containing 42 neatly-penned pages, the
first part of a work of fiction, probably penned by the author at the
age of about 12-15. Unsigned.
-WEBSTER, Grace (1802-1874). Manuscript letter to her sister Eliza,
during her second admission to Morningside Lunatic Asylum (she was
admitted a total of six times in the course of her life.
"Royal Lunatic Asylum
"Morningside 14th March, 1856
"My dear Eliza
"I learn from Miss MacDougall that Catherine is
anxious that you shouldn't go to Whitburn - I wish to know what is your
objection to remaining at home. I have done what I could for your good
and all connected with me, and if I have been severely punished, for
these two months, by intense bodily suffering in consequence of the
brutal treatment I have received at the hands of the Attendants [underlined
twice] as well as at the hands of the ladies whom they are paid for
attending, I could not wish my greatest enemies, if I durst wish an ill
wish with here or hereafter.
"Our beloved Aunt the only object of my heart's
affections is now safe in the bosom of her father and my father, of
your God and her God. God forgive you and Mrs. Mitchell for your
ignorance. Love to Susana. If you allow me to remain here another day I
will speak out my mind and affront both you and Catherine [in fact, the
hospital records show she remained there for a further four months].
"I see by the papers that our William's Jenny has
twins and one of them is dead. I hope Mrs. Donaldson and Mrs Alexr.
Donaldson are well. I have not forgotten the Kit.. If
any ill comes over him I never will forgive it. I think I like [? word
partially obscured by tear in paper] him sitting like a sixpenny tray
on the mantelpiece. I cannot be amused, you are aware of that, with
"Dr. Young says that you were entirely the cause of
his decoying me out to this den of deadly sin - I repeat, if you allow
me to stay another day I shall make you repent it. I thought Auntie's
death would have softened your heart. It has petrified mine to stone.
The [?] with the exception of the old man are base hypocrites. Mrs.
Parker wrote me a long letter which I gave to Dr. Skae. Dr. Young in
his note said he was a respectable man. Miss MacDonald is not looking
well. I mentioned to her yesterday her changing the old green lantern
4/6 for making. She said it was the House did it. I am your[s] affly. Grace Webster."
There is also a continuation of the letter in the margins:
"Has Kingcaldrum each called with the shilling? I gave
Mrs. Parker her jelly cup before I left town. I hope Grace
Green's letter was carefully laid by. It was in the drawing room on the
top of the books.
"I regret your giving me the credit of drinking all
your whisky and wine as well as all the ale and porter. Temple Bar has
a tongue in her head, as well as some of your other comrades. You know
my Aunt was my example and pattern as well as she is now my Guardian
Grace (1802-1874). Manuscript translation of the 6th book of the
Aeneid. Grace Webster's translation of Virgil was apparently published
(it is listed among her works in her obituary notice in The Scotsman,
March 14th, 1874), but I can find no record of it.
Translation from the Latin.
-WEBSTER, Grace (1802-1874). Ingliston. By Grace Webster (Edinburgh;
William Tait, Prince's Street. Simpkin, Marshall & Co., London; and
John Cumming, Dublin, 1840). Octavo, 401 pp. First edition.
Novel. An excellent piece of fiction, with characters and events drawn closely to life. A forgotten masterpiece (at least, I think so!)
-WEBSTER, Grace (1802-1874), editor. The Practice of Piety, Directing a
Christian how to Walk, that he may Please God. By Lewis Bayly, D.D.
Bishop of Bangor. New Edition, with a biographical preface by the
editor, Grace Webster (London; printed for Hamilton, Adams, & Co.,
Paternoster Row; Edinburgh; Charles Smith, Prince's Street, 1842). 12mo
xxxvi + 343 pp. + ii. First edition.
of a 17th century religious work. Bayly enjoyed great popularity in his
day and into the 17th century. One of the letters to Grace Webster in
my possession is from a friend who congratulates her on this
publication, but remarks that its author will never achieve the kind of
popularity he once had.
-WEBSTER, Grace (1802-1874). A Skeleton Novel; or, The Undercurrent of
Society, part one (of three) only (manually-corrected proof; the novel
itself was published in 1866). Octavo, 165 pp.
A genuinely experimental work. For example, a character is drawn
in some detail, and we see her led by trickery into a disastrous
marriage. Then, reflecting that "the records of suffering are mere reproductions or duplicates of what has gone before",
she jumps nine chapters and picks up the story just after the young
lady's untimely death. She comments, with fine disdain for the literary
establishment, "if there be not
continuity in the narrative, there is at least congruity, which the
intelligent reader can easily see. But the general reader will best
judge of its merits when the critics have told him what he ought to
think of it…"
addition to the above I have some 130 letters written to Grace Webster
or other members of her family, one or two letters that appear to have
been written by her but are signed only with initials, her visiting
card, her quill pen, offprints of reviews, the two manuscript works and
proof copy of A Skeleton Novel listed above and other material, all of
which was discovered in the chimney of an old house in Edinburgh.When I
heard of this discovery I was intrigued, and immediately got hold of a
copy of Ingliston, which I read expecting to be disappointed (after
all, no one has heard of Grace Webster today). On the contrary, it was
one of the best reads I had had for a long time, and is perhaps the
first novel in English to convey unequivocally the message that a
bastard can be as good as anybody else and a lot better than many. As
such, it is of historical as well as literary importance, and I hope to
interest a publisher (a university press, perhaps?) in reprinting it.
On the basis of enjoying Ingliston I went ahead and
bought the archive (i.e., the material from the chimney). I also
managed to get hold of a copy of her edition of Lewis Bayly's work.
Others of her works (which include several novels, memoirs, tracts,
etc.), I have only been able to gain access to through research
libraries. One of her works, Memoir of Dr. C. Webster ... with an
Account of Dr. A. Webster, is a history of her family and, together
with that and online genealogical sources, I have been able to piece
together her family tree.
She was of an illustrious Edinburgh family (both
Charles and Alexander Webster have entries in the DNB), but suffered a
reversal of her economic fortunes when a disastrous lawsuit ruined her
and her immediate relatives. She also fell victim to the recurrent
insanity that her mother had suffered from. Despite early recognition,
these twin afflictions relegated her to obscurity, and I probably know
more about her than anyone alive! I am hoping that some publisher will
show an interest in reprinting Ingliston, and am working on
transcribing the letters (or at least the more interesting ones), which
are a fascinating insight into Victorian life (for example, shortly
after receiving a cheque from the Fund for Indigent Gentlewomen she
received a letter thanking her for the bag of coal she had given to
someone even poorer than herself).
Emma Jane. Margaret Torrington; or, The Voyage of Life (London; James
Clarke & Co., 13 Fleet Street; Jackson, Walford, & Hodder,
Paternoster Row, 1879). Octavo, 461 pp. + ads. Later edition (first
edition was 1868).
religious novel, with elements of romantic fiction. the plot is
well-constructed and the characters well-rounded, but the narrative is
somewhat held up by the fact that the central characters regularly
digress into language more suited to the pulpit than everyday
-WRIGHT, Julia McNair. Patriot and
Tory: One Hundred Years Ago. A Tale of the Revolution (Cincinnati,
Philadelphia, Chicago, Memphis, Atlanta, 1876). Copyright 1876. Octavo,
548 pp. + ads. Illustrated. First edition.
Historical novel. The author actually denies that it is a novel, and claims that it is a chronicle, saying "Certain
facts about this work must be noted. It is intended to be, and is, a
careful representation...of the manners, daily lives, style of speech
[etc.]...of Americans - one hundred years ago" (preface).
The publishers, too, include their own "introductory note" claiming the
historical veracity of the account, and the first chapter claims that
the manuscript was written by the author's great grandmother, given to
the British Museum and copied by hand by Mrs. Wright - all of which is
a fictitious pretence!
Marie E[lizabeth]., M.D. (1829-1902). A Practical Illustration of
"Woman's Right to Labor;" or, a letter from Marie E. Zakraewska, M.D.,
late of Berlin, Prussia. Edited by Caroline [Wells] H[ealey] Dall
(Boston; Walker, Wise and Company, 245 Washington Street, 1860).
Octavo, 8+167+1 pp. First edition.
Autobiography. A seminal feminist work, the text of which can be found online HERE.
Zakrzewska was an active campaigner for women's rights as well as being
highly influential in American medicine. Mary Roth Walsh describes her
as "one of the most influential female physicians of the 19th century.
In many ways she played a greater role in developing careers for women
in American medicine than the more famous Blackwell sisters" (Doctors
Wanted: No Women Need Apply, p. 76). There are numerous web pages that
give details of her life.
Caroline Dall published Woman's Right to Labor in
the same year (1860). She adds a brief introduction and postscript to
Zakrzewska's work. A useful account of her life and writings, together
with links to related sites, can be found HERE.