Boston: W. B. Clarke Company, 1913. First edition. Green publisher's cloth binding with bright gilt to spine and front board. Scattered rubbing to front board; small scuff to rear board. Tight and square. Internally clean and unmarked, containing 19 portraits, and 2 facsimile letters from Wendell Phillips and Joseph Twichell respectively. This copy presented by the author to activist and reformer Rev. Joseph Twichell, who was featured in the book and was part of a literary circle that included Mark Twain. Author's calling card affixed to the front endpaper with Twichell's annotation regarding the gift; two page Autograph Letter Signed from Wyman to Twichell affixed in transmittal envelope to front pastedown.
American Chivalry is Lillie Buffum Chace Wyman's monument to the two largest social movements of nineteenth-century America and some of their leading figures: the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage. The volume is a collection of six biographical sketches of Wendell Phillips, Lillie's mother Elizabeth Buffum Chace, her aunt Rebecca Buffum Chace, Parker Pillsbury, Sojourner Truth, and her late husband John Crawford Wyman. These different figures were all connected to Lillie Wyman, either as family members or as friends. Wyman's sketch of Wendell Phillips is particularly notable for its impressionistic style. Unlike many biographies which relied on birth-to-death chronology to give coherence to a life, the biography of Phillips is made of vignettes that Wyman uses to stitch together a rich and intimate portrait of Phillips' renowned moral character.
Included is an Autograph Letter Signed from Wyman to Rev. Joseph Twichell, an important clergyman (and close friend of Samuel Clemens). Wyman's letter poignantly dwells on the challenge she faced writing about her late husband: "You can imagine, I think, how I paused over many words and sentences in the chapter about John, hesitating between a shy fear of revealing too much of the inner sanctuary, and a strong desire to show him where and how he was most beautiful,--in that sanctuary." Very Good + (Item #3387)