London: Printed for the Author and sold by R. Baldwin, 1773. Third edition. Scarce third edition, which was the final version authorized by Raffald herself and contains her signature on page one to complement the warning on the title page: “No Book is genuine but what is signed by the Author.” Twentieth century half calf binding with raised bands and gilt to spine; marbled boards. Octavo, with all three original folding engraved plates: [iv], 366, (16), with page numbers 81-82 replicated and 16 pages at the back containing erratum and index. Some toning and soiling to text block, but overall clean and tight; two small tears to the plates, repaired with no loss. Overall an excellent copy of this rare signed book.
Elizabeth Raffald staked her reputation on being a professional; and in the first three editions of The Experienced English Housekeeper, she emphasizes the serious business and critical knowledge necessary for domestic management. Not to be confused with physick—she specifically notes that this should be left to trained doctors—housekeeping is most successful when a woman draws on her own experience or the shared knowledge of others. Indeed, Raffald sets herself up as an authority; in addition to serving for 15 years as the housekeeper to a prominent family, she went on to become an author, newspaper owner, and the proprietor of both two shops. With The Experienced English Housekeeper, Raffald brought ingenuity and economy into “modern” women’s homes, providing “near Nine Hundred Original Receipts, most of which never appeared in print,” as well as extensive “Directions to set out a Table in the most elegant Manner and in the Modern Taste.” Urging women to appreciate the complexity of the “Art of Cookery,” Raffald’s recipes balance “economy with neatness and elegance, being sensible what value these are in a housekeeper or cook.” Notable recipes include Partridge Soup, Rolled Salmon, and Pigeons Compote; Raffald also included drink receipts for, among others, Moonshine, Walnut Wine, and Lemonade. After selling the rights to her book in 1773, Raffald’s title page warning was removed from subsequent printings; yet The Experienced English Housekeeper and its popularity remain “a testament to the shrewd and inventive mind of an eighteenth century businesswoman” (Cole). ESTC lists five insitutional copies, this being the only signed edition currently known on the market.
ESTC T82676 (Item #1956)