London: Edward Moxon, 1850. First edition. Contemporary polished calf with gilt and morocco labels to spines, with boards ruled in gilt. All edges marbled. Marbled endpapers. Pages measuring 190 x 120mm. Contemporary gift inscription to verso of front endpaper: "Cicely Florence Cooper, from her affectionate grandmother A.C." which has been surrounded in another hand with family provenance: "A.C. (Anne Cooper) married Edward Synge Cooper...her eldest son Edward Joshua Cooper M.P. F.R.S....was father of [Cicely Florence Cooper]. My mother, Cicely Florence Cooper, born 30th May 1835 died 29th April 1910 left this to me, Richard E. S. Cooper, her eldest son and today, 6 May 1923, to my only daughter Cicely Mary Cooper." On the following endpaper, an additional notation: "Given to my eldest daughter Marie Louise Clarke by Cicely Mary Jennings (nee Cooper). September 1965." Family history and ownership aside, the present copy is clean and complete including half and full titles to both, collating xii, 280; viii, 291, . A scarce and important work on women's education, OCLC reports only 6 in the U.S., and it appears only once in the modern auction record (a defective copy in 2006). It is currently the only copy on the market.
Emily Shirreff was an educational activist central to the development of the kindergarten system and to women's higher education. And she fully believed that men and women should both receive liberal educations not for practical training in a trade, but for their development as whole people. A co-founder of the Women's Education Union with her sister and fellow activist Maria Shirreff Grey, the sisters also co-authored a variety of publications throughout their lifetimes. The present is an early example of this, in which the sisters fill an important gap within the market by addressing not only the need for women's education, but the practicalities women must undertake in its pursuit. "Works on female education have been multiplied of late years, and many have been written on the position and duties of women; but none...have attempted to show how the task of self-improvement is to be accomplished." For this reason, the authors briefly gloss over the history and present influence of women to focus instead on method. Chapters continually emphasize this: Power and Influence of Habit, On Method, and Conscience and the Government of Will are chapters that lay the groundwork in volume I while chapters in volume II build upon that foundation with Instruments of Moral Discipline, Mental Training, Methods of Study, and ideas for creating a culture of imagination and a love of learning. A uniquely practical women's education guide in its time.
The Feminist Companion to Literature 978. (Item #3899)