Philadelphia: Joseph James, 1787. First edition. Contemporary calf with five raised bands. Recornered, with discreet repairs to joints, inner hinges, and spine ends. Complete, including publisher's adverts at rear. With bookplate of Samuel Coles to front pastedown, and ownership signatures of the same dated from Moores Town 1796 on the front pastedown, two front endpapers, and verso of the rear endpaper; early pencil ownership signatures of Joseph Smith to front pastedown, front endpaper, header of page 7 and rear pastedown. Occasional light scattered foxing, but in all a surprisingly unmarked and clean copy for an education book of the period. Complete, including publisher's adverts at rear. Scarce institutionally and in trade, the present is the only copy on the market in a contemporary binding, of a title that last sold at auction almost two decades ago.
In addition to being one of America's earliest educational works published for the use of both sexes, "Moore's book is the richest surviving body of evidence revealing the nature and substance of women's intellectual community in British America and the early Republic. The quality of the writing is high and reflects a range of literary genres, including religious and meditational poetry, elegies, verse epistles and extempore verse, hymns, and occasional poems...Taken as a whole, Moore's collection presents an unparalleled view of the interests and tastes of educated women in early America, belying the notion that women's concerns were limited only to a domestic sphere" (History of American Women). Moore, the member of a prominent Quaker family and the beneficiary of a rigorous education, "lived and flourished in the Philadelphia area during its peak, when it was the center of commerce, politics, social life, and culture in the young republic...she knew and corresponded with many of the leading intellectuals of her day. From her network of acquaintances, she created a commonplace book" that ultimately served as the basis for Miscellanies Moral and Instructive (HAW). Her manuscript commonplace book was largely compiled during the Revolution, and across its 126 entries were pieces by at least 16 different women authors, as well as works by Benjamin Franklin (who endorsed the book), Patrick Henry, and Samuel Fothergill. (Item #3902)