London: Taylor & Hessey, 1814. First edition. Contemporary fine binding of full straight grained morocco with gilt to spine and boards. All edges marbled. Marbled endpapers. A square and pleasing copy, with joints a bit cracked but sound. Later bookseller's stamp to verso of front endpaper. Contemporary gift inscription to second endpaper: "Lydia LeGrand Gribble, presented to her by her affectionate uncle J.B. Gribble. May 12th 1814." Some light offsetting from the frontis, else a clean and unmarked book. OCLC reports copies of this scarce work at only 6 U.S. institutions (17 worldwide), with the present being the only one on the market.
Best known as an author of conduct books, Ann Martin Taylor showed early intellectual promise; upon her marriage to a minister with a mutual love of learning, she raised and educated five children who all went on to successful writing careers. "The Taylors provided an excellent education to their large family, devising an original method of teaching which used materials they wrote themselves. When the children were away from home, Ann wrote to them often with advice on proper conduct and religious observance" (Encyclopedia). Training her girls in literature, art, mathematics, and the sciences, it was her hope that her "daughters be able to support themselves" even without husbands, given the limited funds for dowries (Encyclopedia). While her two eldest, Ann and Jane, forged successful, best-selling literary careers, she felt concern for her youngest, Jemima, lest she lose her aging mother's guidance too soon. To this end, Taylor wrote Maternal Solicitude, a text through which she could share lessons, give advice, and be present in her teenage daughter's life. "I assure you that not one of these Meditations was the work of merely an hour or two...I would hope that you will read them deliberately and with attention." The result is an incredibly intimate compilation of meditations and letters, from a mother to a daughter, guiding her through some of the most complex questions women must face in their lives. Such a tone resonated with contemporary readers, and Taylor's book went through no fewer than fifteen editions by 1830. (Item #3924)