Sheffield: J. Montgomery, . First edition. Contemporary mottled calf with gilt and morocco to spine. Marbled endpapers. Measuring 148 x 90mm and collating complete with subscriber's list: li, [1, blank], 256. Discrete repair to upper joint near crown and joints starting but sound. Occasional light scattered foxing, but a largely clean and fresh copy internally. Several small pinholes to title and dedication leaves not affecting text. Bookplate of Mary Oates to front pastedown, with her husband George Oates (1789-1827) appearing in the subscriber's list, possibly on her behalf. A scarce collection of poetry by the writer Barbara Hoole Hofland, who supported herself and founded a school with funds from her publications, OCLC documents only 2 copies in libraries (BL and NLS). It is the only copy on the market.
"In forty years of writing, Barbara Hoole Hofland produced nearly seventy titles...They include books for children or young adults and adult novels, with some poems, plays, guidebooks, and handbooks on artistic topics rounding out her bibliography. More than 300,000 copies of her books were sold in Britain and as many, proportionately to population, in the U.S." (Orlando Project). Her career began of necessity. Having married the merchant T. Bradford Hoole, she was shortly after widowed and left to support herself. It was during this period that Poems was published, with a staggering list of 2,000 subscribers including George Oates (who purchased the present copy). Funds from this work, which emphasizes female experiences and interiority, made it possible for her to launch and maintain a boarding school at Harrogate, where she could make education accessible to girls. On her marriage to artist Thomas Hofland, she moved from Sheffield to London, where she settled into a career as a full time writer. "Though many of her titles fall naturally into groups, [focusing] on family relationships (notably widows as struggling, successful single mothers)...she always varied her forumulas. Her books for the adult market were independent in their attitudes, expressing an original and thinking mind" (Orlando Project). This early work reveals Hofland finding her creative voice, which ultimately did not shy away from or diminish the value of how women perceive experiences from the domestic to the global. While some poems address the loss of friends, advice to young men and women, or the hopes of a widow for her daughter, others consider how war and politics unsettle and affect women. (Item #4970)