A Woman's Summer in a Motor Car (Presentation Copy)

(Item #5199) A Woman's Summer in a Motor Car (Presentation Copy). Women, Travel.
A Woman's Summer in a Motor Car (Presentation Copy)
A Woman's Summer in a Motor Car (Presentation Copy)
A Woman's Summer in a Motor Car (Presentation Copy)
A Woman's Summer in a Motor Car (Presentation Copy)
A Woman's Summer in a Motor Car (Presentation Copy)
A Woman's Summer in a Motor Car (Presentation Copy)
A woman asserts her independence by purchasing a motor of her own and writing a book about her travels
A Woman's Summer in a Motor Car (Presentation Copy)

New York: [Privately Printed], 1907. First edition. One of one hundred copies privately printed by the author, for distribution among friends; the present is warmly inscribed on the front endpaper in the year of publication "Easter Greetings to dear Connie with the love of the Author. 1907." Original publisher's cloth binding retaining its delicate paper label to spine. Measuring 130 x 80mm and collating complete including limitation page and frontis: [10], 99, [1, blank]. A charming little book with a touch of soiling to white cloth boards and light foxing to the frontis. OCLC reports only 3 copies in libraries (one with a similar inscription on Easter 1907), with this the only example in trade.

"When the car debuted as a piece of technology, it became the centerpiece of a culture war surrounding gender roles in turn of the century America" (Carvana). Though initial marketing tactics emphasized the automobile's importance to men's busy lives, women's rights activists saw an important opportunity. For them, the motor car became a tool and a symbol of independence. Women of privilege with access to family vehicles or their own could use the technology to travel in parades or to demonstrations, or to "join local racing circuits or undertake cross-country trips" as evidence of their equality with men (Carvana). For Mary D. Post, a motor trip with friends in the summer of 1906 offered an opportunity for engaging these debates. Presented under the demure guise of "an unadorned little chronicle of an unusual summer," her book nevertheless embraces with feminist pride a narrative centered on "a woman's car" and "this woman...wondering what she should do with her approaching summer." As it turns out, "this woman" was capable of researching the market in terms of car styles, upkeep costs, and prices as well as purchasing one of her own designed to fit her specific needs. While Post jokes at times about her ineptitude at managing repairs along the road, she also uses her travels to highlight how men around her attempt to use her gender as a means for belittling or constraining her -- notable among them are the several police officers who stop her on false charges of speeding, force her to stop her trip and depart her vehicle, and hold her in custody until she pays a "fine" for her misbehavior.

A book that is both charming and more complex than it seems.
Near Fine (Item #5199)

Price: $1,250