New York [Vols 1-2], Rochester [Vols 3-4], New York [Vols 5-6]: Fowler & Wells [Vols 1-2], Susan B. Anthony [Vols 3-4], National American Woman Suffrage Association [Vols 5-6], 1881, 1882, 1887, 1902, 1922. First edition. Including all six volumes contained within the final version of the set. Original publisher's cloth bindings with titles in gilt to spines. With some chipping to extremities of spines to Volumes I and II. Hinges to Volume I professionally strengthened. Outer front joint of Volume IV with some tenderness, but holding well, title page secured. Small nick to the spines of Volumes I and V. Corners of several volumes bumped or rubbed. Light scattered foxing throughout. An exceptional set with an important association, Susan B. Anthony writes a lengthy inscription in Volume IV to Marilla Ricker, a pioneering attorney whose illegally cast ballot in the 1870 election preceded and inspired Anthony's own campaign of civil disobedience at the ballot box. While one to two volumes of the set occasionally appear on the market, it is quite rare to find the full six volumes of this important work together, and with such an important association. Four volume sets have appeared at auction only twice, in 2008 and 1911, with the complete six volume set in first edition appearing only once, over a decade ago.
Spanning over 5,000 pages and drawing on primary sources from the National Woman Suffrage Association leaders and their archives, The History of Woman Suffrage is still considered one of the most important accounts of this American equality movement. For Anthony, it was critical that women write themselves into U.S. history as well as leave a road map for future activists. To this end, when it became clear in 1885 that this comprehensive project would cost more money than it would raise, she purchased the rights to the contents and plates for Volumes I-II and published Volumes III-IV as sole owner. To promote the movement, she donated copies to libraries and presented copies to contributors and people with political influence.
The present set is an example of Anthony's strategy. Here, in the same volume where Ricker's historic act of suffrage protest in the courts was documented on pages 815-817 (accompanied by a notation in the nearby margin), On the front endpaper of Volume IV, she writes in full:
"Mrs. Marilla M. Ricker
Dover - N. Hampshire
New Hampshire's men voted yesterday on whether their women should have the right to vote -- and the morning's says it was defeated -- but, it wasn't necessary that the Rev. Lyman Abbott, and the women Antis, should go up there to tell the men to vote 'no' - their own ignorance and stupidity would ensure that action! -- Every man who voted 'yes' -- was lifted out of the prejudice and bigotry into which he was born. It is only the slow growth of the Education of the people -- so we wait -- and trust & know that equal justice is ours in the future. So be it.
Susan B. Anthony
1820. Feb. 18, 1902."
One of the first women attorneys admitted to a state Supreme Court, Marilla Ricker was an advocate for prison reform and suffrage, seeing the two issues as linked. She was a collaborator with and the official elector for fellow lawyer Belva Lockwood, the first woman to run for President. And her act of illegally casting a vote in 1870 inspired Susan B. Anthony to begin her own campaign of civil disobedience that resulted in her illegally case vote, court trial, and nationwide fame in 1873. Ricker would register to vote and be denied every year until 1920.
A work of exceptional importance, with a scarce association.
Krichmar 1996. Near Fine (Item #3400)