My Portfolio: A Miscellaneous Collection of Prose and Verse, Presented by Kind Friends for the Benefit of a Reformatory School
Liverpool: Joseph A. D. Watts and Co., 1865.
Liverpool: Joseph A. D. Watts and Co., 1865. First edition. Original navy publisher's cloth binding with gilt to spine. Gentle bumps to corners, else in about Fine condition. Faint offsetting to pastedowns and occasional light foxing, else a pleasing, clean and unmarked copy. Collates complete: viii, 228. Laid into the front are a poem by the author In Memoriam of Alderman Herbert Campbell printed on mourning stationary and a handwritten subscriber's receipt for Miss Nicholas per L. J. Campbell. The only copy currently on the market, OCLC reports only one institutionally held copy.
Compiled and sold for the benefit of the Liverpool Toxteth Park Girls' Reformatory School, which began relocating its campus in 1864 to a safer area of Liverpool under "the management of Mrs. Herbert Campbell" the editor of the present work (Children's Homes). My Portfolio acknowledges that when parents fail, it is up to the community to support the affected children. "This earth, seemingly so fair and beautiful, is disfigured by many dark habitations of cruelty. We may see English fathers and mothers converting happy English homes into abodes of sin and misery...girls rescued by the hands of police have found homes within the walls of our Reformatories, and have there been trained for service...the sale of this little volume is for the benefit of one of these schools...Humbly and yet hopefully I appeal to the benevolence public with this entreaty that they will by their help and by their influence do their utmost to further this Labour of Love." Some of the works are anonymous, but some of the contributors have provided their names and are women. This is not surprising; Toxteth Park Girls' Reformatory had been "established by private subscription and managed by a committee of ladies, opened in 1856" ensuring that rescued girls had a safe home and education provided by "some ladies of the committee, giving lessons on subjects such as history and geography" (Children's Homes). In addition to this, whether the women came from privilege or misfortune, they could understand how critical the support of family and educators could be in securing their futures. Their works reflect that -- for example, The Mother's Prayer, Love in Life, and In Memoriam, for example, all deal with the lessons and support children gain from a maternal presence. Yet it should also be noted that Campbell wanted the volume to appeal to as many donors as possible. To that end, there are pieces written by reverends, essays and poems on military endeavors, and items designed to appeal to the less sentimental. A scarce piece of educational and social activism. Fine (Item #2993)