The Ninth Annual Report of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society
Boston: Oliver Johnson, 1842.
Boston: Oliver Johnson, 1842. First edition. Original printed wrappers with "Ten Years of Experience" and a poem from Felicia Hemans printed on front. Gentle bump to lower front corner. Small closed tear to outer margin of rear wrap; rear wrap partially detached but holding. Collating 46, : complete, including half and full titles. Faint scattered foxing to preliminary and terminal leaves, but internally surprisingly fresh else. Early ownership signature of S. Cowing to front wrap. A scarce pamphlet celebrating the first decade of work by this interracial, abolitionist women's group, OCLC reports 15 copies (10 of those in the US); there are no others on the market.
"It has been our practice for nine successive years to give, at the end of each, a statement of the efforts that we have made, the obstacles that we have encountered, and the success that we have obtained." The present Report is different from its predecessors, however, because as the group entered its second decade, membership had grown so radically that its members feared new subscribers might not be familiar with the Society's foundations. To that end, the Ninth Annual Report includes a review of the Society's core beliefs and principles -- What is Is and Is Not -- so that newer readers can support the Society's goals in their daily conversations and actions. Of note: it was neither partisan nor a debate club, to wit, the evil of slavery was a given and women of any political leaning had to agree to urge their favored party towards abolition.
Consistency in the club's message was critical. The Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society (BFASS) was, after all, one of the earliest and most successful organizations of its kind. Founded in 1833, "it had both white and black members...and it organized the first of many Anti-Slavery Fairs to help raise money for the cause...open for four days, the first raised over $1,500 [roughly $50,000 today]" (Gustin). These annual fairs proved the women's organizational effectiveness and the span of its members' influence; and the fair were soon were supplemented by society dinners and other fundraising efforts that could feed the coffers of male-run legislative and lobbying efforts. Continuing these accomplishments required members to stay on-note, in a world where poor representation or inconsistency could endanger the mission. "Female-led anti-slavery societies were crucial in women abolitionists' journey to having their voices heard and making a difference. These organizations allowed for women to openly discuss what they believed outside their homes" even though "the presence of women in the public eye was controversial...and out of their society's comfort zone" (Salerno).
A scarce survivor in wrappers, of a successful women's activist group maintaining its brand and working to ensure continued achievement toward abolition. Near Fine (Item #3849)