New York: Mahlon Day at the New Juvenile Bookstore, 1833. Early edition. Bound in original paper wraps handsewn at spine. Tiny chip to front wrap. Internally tight and clean, with only light occasional foxing to margins. Collates complete, with 16 pages, frontis and six additional woodcut illustrations. Ownership signature of Royal Dewey to verso of front wrap. Scarce on the market, this children's educational chapbook is also rare in institutions. OCLC reports only 2 copies of the 1824 first edition and only 4 of this first American imprint.
"From her earliest years, Lucy Lyttelton had the advantage of constant exposure to a highly literary and intellectual society" (ODNB). In addition to receiving an education, her family circulated among local authors including Anna Seward, the poet nicknamed The Swan of Lichfield. As she emerged into womahood, Lucy extended these acquaintances, becoming friends with Hannah More and other Bluestocking writers. Focusing her career on children's literature, Lucy hoped to make education palatable and accessible to youth. The Mountain of Health does just that, presenting the reader with an allegory about a mountain that a group of children ascend every day in order to attend school. While many of the children stumble and fall along the way, one named Sophia, after the goddess of wisdom, reaches the top each day. As readers discover, it is Sophia's desire to learn and to strengthen her individual virtues that leads her to success. A brief but important work, as it reflects Mrs. Cameron's role in shifting the emphasis of children's education away from conformity and communality and towards individuality. Fine (Item #2486)