Lessons on Shells, as Given to Children Between the Ages of Eight and Ten, in a Pestalozzian School...
London: R. B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1832.
London: R. B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1832. First edition. Publisher's drab boards rebacked to style with morocco spine label. Measuring 165 x 105mm and collating complete including half title, all ten plates with facing explanations and publisher's advert to rear: x, , 222, . A Near Fine copy with some spotting and shelfwear externally. Bookplate of Mary Ames to front pastedown and contemporary gift inscription from the same to the front endpaper: Mary Jane Pinney from her Aunt Ames. Dec. 27th 1842." Minor foxing to preliminary and terminal leaves, and gentle toning to plates; else internally fresh and unmarked. A scarce scientific primer, we were able to locate 8 copies in the U.S. via OCLC; it has appeared twice at auction (with the most recent being 15 years ago) and the present is the only example currently in trade.
Following the paths blazed by fellow citizen scientists Jane Marcet, Priscilla Wakefield, and Mary Roberts, Elizabeth Mayo created a succinct but detailed guide to collecting, identifying, and scientifically examining shells. Like these women, Mayo's text utilized a familiar dialogic method -- presenting readers with conversations about shells and their inhabitants unfolding among children and their teachers. It also encouraged readers to engage in hands-on activities and exploration within local spaces where they could access their physical subject matter. These pre-existing techniques aligned well with the Pestalozzi method in which Mayo herself had been trained, and through which she educated her own students. Indeed, it is in this way that Mayo differed from earlier citizen scientists. Rather than being a response to women and girls' exclusion from STEM fields, her work was based in her own instructional experience. Further, her product was intended to shape how others in the field approached science lessons in formal schools, encouraging play, touch, and tactile components to learning. In this sense, Mayo broke new ground for women in the field of scientific pedagogy. (Item #5503)