New York: The Century Co., 1895. First American edition. Original pictorial publisher's cloth binding. Slight fading to spine and rubbing to boards. Lacking the front endpaper, else complete: , 318. Internally Fine -- a bright and unread copy. Scarce in nice condition, the present work is the first appearance in English of Sonya Kovalevsky's autobiography, documenting her early education and rise to become the first woman to be awarded a PhD in mathematics.
A childhood isolated from those her own age, close contact with her mother and nurse, family associations with luminaries including Dostoyevsky, and an unquenchable desire to learn shaped Kovalevsky's early years according to her autobiography. While her own words end in the lead-up to her greatest achievements, the later portion of her tale is supplied posthumously by Anna Carlotta Leffler, Duchess of Cajanello, who firmly believed the world needed to know more about the development of "a woman upon whom the union of a masculine mind with a feminine heart imposed the difficult task of solving diametrically opposed problems which all women, gifted or otherwise, must face." Indeed, Kovalevsky's resilience and brilliance made it possible for her to overcome multiple obstacles, as she became not only the first modern woman awarded a PhD but also the first to hold a university faculty position in the field; and as a feminist activist and suffragist, she would fight to dismantle hurdles for the generations of girls coming after her. Very Good + (Item #3132)