Boston: Published by the Society, 1836. First edition. Contemporary coated cloth rebacked to style with paper label to front reading "Right and Wrong in Boston." Bumps and shelfwear to corners and extremities, but in all square and tight. Perforated stamp to title and deaccession stamp to title verso else internally unmarked. Complete: , 108. The second report of the work being done by the ground-breaking, interracial women's abolition group, released with the intent of informing the public and recruiting new contributors to their efforts. The present is the only copy on the market.
The Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society (BFASS) was one of the earliest and most successful organizations of its kind. Founded in 1833, "it had both white and black members...and it organized the first of many Anti-Slavery Fairs to help raise money for the cause" (Gustin). These annual fairs proved the women's organizational effectiveness and the span of its members' influence; and the fair were soon were supplemented by society dinners and other fundraising efforts that could feed the coffers of lobbying efforts. Such an organization was a driving force in the call for emancipation; it also intersected with women's rising interests in their own rights. "Female-led anti-slavery societies were crucial in women abolitionists' journey to having their voices heard and making a difference. These organizations allowed for women to openly discuss what they believed outside their homes" even though "the presence of women in the public eye was controversial...and out of their society's comfort zone" (Salerno).
Only the second report to emerge from the group, the present work captures the early energy of its members. "In collecting and preparing for publication the contents of the following pages, the Boston Female Anti Slavery Society have one only motive; the same which has governed all their proceedings since their organization, viz.: the wish to promulgate TRUTH...Their purpose is to preserve a sketch of their times, as one from which valuable instruction may be drawn by their children." Documenting the group's foundation of twelve members, growing in its first two years to such a size as couldn't be contained in a house, the book urges its readers to find hope in the expansion of the cause. And in recording the early obstacles and even violence members faced in securing a meeting place and being taken seriously by men -- who accused "the young ladies of...proposing to relieve the country of slavery through the medium of pin and cent associations" -- they evidenced what could be overcome. At pages 102-103, the BFASS provided its Constitution, including mission that any woman with dues could join, that it was neither partisan nor a debate club (to wit, the evil of slavery was a given), and that women of any political leaning had to agree to urge their favored party towards abolition. (Item #4819)