New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1874. First Edition. Original dark green publisher's cloth binding, with gilt to spine, and boards decoratively stamped and ruled in black. Brown coated endpapers. Very gentle wear to extremities and small ink spot to bottom of closed textblock, but overall a pleasing, square copy externally. Later ownership stamp of Carolyn D. Gifford to front endpaper; contemporary ownership signature in ink to front flyleaf reads "Cornelia C Hussey. July 1874." Small binder's ticket to rear pastedown. Internally clean and complete, collating 401, [1, blank], [6 ads]. OCLC records 7 physical copies at institutions, with this as the only copy on the market. Given its last appearance at auction was over 30 years ago, this important book on girls' education by the first female principal in the US has become a rarity.
With a career dedicated to increasing children's access to quality education, Anna Brackett made history in 1863 as the first American woman principal to a secondary school when she accepted her post at the St. Louis Normal School.
A decade later, Brackett drew on her first hand experience educating girl students and female teachers to write The Education of American Girls, which confronted popular arguments against female admission to higher education. Taking both a theoretical and practical stance against these arguments, Brackett's book shows how withholding rigorous education from girls at a young age sets them back in their academic careers, making it less likely that they can perform at the university level; and includes works by women who have succeeded, such as Lucy Stone and Mary Putnam Jacobi, gesturing to their early educational foundations as a reason for their success. "There seems to be at present no subject more capable of exciting and holding attention among thoughtful people in America than the question of the Education of Girls...the education of a girl is properly said to be finished when the pupil has attained a completely fashioned will, mental power to judge and care for herself, and a perfectly developed body." These indeed are the areas that Brackett argues should be the focus of girls' education in America, allowing girls to grow into women who are capable, self-sufficient, independent, and healthy. An important and rare early text outlining women's rigorous and well rounded education.
American National Biography. Fine (Item #4231)