Hartford: P. Canfield, 1833. First edition. Original publisher's quarter cloth over drab boards, retaining delicate paper label to spine. An exceptional survivor, with the slightest sunning to spine and a bit of wear to the paper of the boards. Early gift inscription "For my dear Mary" in ink to the header of the title page. Light scattered foxing, but unmarked otherwise. Collating complete: , 8-152. Scarce institutionally and in trade, it last appeared at auction in 1976. The present is the only copy on the market.
Hailed in her own time as "the female Milton," Lydia Huntley Sigourney became one of the first American women to achieve a successful and lucrative literary career. "From seemingly humble beginnings -- she was born in Norwich, Connecticut where her father was a hired man in the household of a well-to-do Norwich widow -- Lydia parlayed her opportunities and talents into a successful career as a writer of both essays and poetry" (Grolier Club Emerging Voices). Despite her family's economic hardships, Sigourney was the beneficiary of a rigorous education, having been sent to private school by her father's employer; and she served as a headmistress and principal of a school for girls after her graduation. It was at this time that she began composing her own work. Its positive reception gave her further encouragement to "devote herself full time to writing...[and] she used the proceeds of her writing to contribute to charitable causes" (Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame). The first of her two conduct and education books, Letters to Young Ladies drew on her practical experience as both a student and teacher. Arguing for the importance of literature and reading to women's development, Sigourney recommended that girls get comfortable reading aloud and conducting memorization and recitation (skills that could assist in analysis as well as oratory); and she advised that young women practice the art of letter writing (as an effective form of communication and self-expression).
Grolier Club Emerging Voices 23. Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame. Connecticut Historical Society MS Sigol1865. Near Fine (Item #3916)