Liverpool: Nuttall, Fisher, and Dixon, . First Thus. The first appearance of the Stereotype Edition, which followed the first edition by one year. Contemporary tree calf binding, professionally rebacked to style. Bookplate of the Cordon Bleu culinary writer Blanche Anding on the front pastedown. Contemporary ownership signature of Wm Harding on front endpaper. Collates iv, 560: complete, including stereotype frontis and eight additional plates dates 1811 and 1812. Internally text block is square and tight, with some scattered foxing and toning throughout. Scarce in trade and at institutions, the present is the only copy on the market, and OCLC reports only 2 institutionally held copies of this edition, making it more scarce than the first edition of 1811.
A work that was later identified in later editions as the product of J.A. Stewart, The Female Instructor attempts to provide readers with an encyclopedic reference guide to assist them in the questions they will confront as they rise from girlhood into womanhood. With content spanning widely across Abortion, Cakes & Biscuits, Female Education, Love & Courtship, Scurvy, Venemous Stings, and Writing, the author opts to begin his text with an index rather than a table of contents so that readers can locate and cross-reference information based on the needs of the moment. Entries are internally in no particular order and are largely concise, suggesting that women should approach the work on an as-needed basis as issues of import come up in their households. Though The Female Instructor takes a decidedly conservative bent -- asserting that a girl should aim to fulfill "the satisfaction of others in the important duties of her sex, of a daughter, a wife, a mother, or a mistress of a household" -- the book also provides women with behavioral loopholes to accomplish their own ends. In the section on abortion, for example, Stewart rails against the selfishness of women who would dodge the task for which they were built; at the same time, Stewart acknowledges situations of illness and poverty that might discourage motherhood. Ultimately, he outlines in detail a number of abortifacient activities and medicines to be avoided (thus making them available). Such tensions exist throughout the book, making it both useful in its own time and a research rich cultural document in ours. (Item #2669)