Boston: Patrick Donahoe, 1869. First English language edition. Translated by R. M. Phillimore. Octavo. Original mottled purple cloth with gilt to spine and boards stamped in blind. Some gentle shelfwear and bumps. Brown coated endpapers. Contemporary gift inscription by an important Boston activist in pencil to front endpaper: "Fanny M. Stone from Sr. Ann Alexis. Boston 1868." Minor foxing to text block as expected of an American imprint from this period. Overall an exceptional copy of this rare educational tract, which is the only copy on the market, with none in the modern auction record. OCLC records only 8 institutionally held copies.
First published in French earlier the same year, the first English language edition of Studious Women introduced a new demographic of readers to a key Liberal Catholic leader's justification for women's education. Dupanloup, an educator of both seminary and lay students, "was a prominent figure in the struggle for educational freedom under the July Monarchy and was an architect of the Falloux Law (1850), which gave legal status to independent secondary schools in France" (Britannica). His efforts extended to women's education. While positioning women's intellectual growth within their roles as Christian wives and mothers, Dupanloup argued that women's education should "transcend the purely household-related matters to include the classics" (Offen). Intellectual growth in this case becomes not only a right, but an obligation women must fulfill. "The rights of women to intellectual cultivation are not only rights, they are duties. This is what renders them inalienable...all the gifts received from God, in order to be of some use, ought to be cultivated." While women should never abandon their primary responsibilities as wives and mothers, the Monsignor asserts, neither should those positions prevent talented women from celebrating and sharing those additional gifts they have received. Abilities in math, the sciences, or the arts should never go to waste -- to waste them would be an affront to Divine generosity. In this sense, Studious Women opens the door to a more liberal approach to women's social position, even as it attempts to support the traditional household. With chapters focused on Examples of Learned Women, The Danger of Repression, and the Advantages of Intellectual Labor. Notably, this particular copy was presented to a young woman by Sister Ann Alexis Shorb, the founder of Boston's Carney Hospital, the first Catholic hospital in New England. The pre-publication date of 1868 provided by Shorb in her inscription is explained by her relationship with the book's publisher, the husband of her sister, Annie E. Donahoe. Sister Ann, who began her life as Harriet Shorb, was born to a prominent Southern California family of doctors and landowners. Her decision to take orders, move to Boston, and help establish and administer a hospital made her an example of the type of life Studious Women encouraged. A lovely copy of this rare book, with an important association.
UCR Center for Bibliographical Studies. Encyclopedia of Christian Politics 184. Near Fine (Item #2539)