Letters from a Lady Who Resided Some Years in Russia to Her Friend in England [with] Eleven Additional Letters from Russia in the Reign of Peter II...
London: J. Dodsley; [N.P.], 1775; .
London: J. Dodsley; [N.P.], 1775; . First editions. Sammelband of women's travel narratives, with five texts bound in three volumes. Contemporary quarter morocco over marbled boards, rebacked to style with morocco and gilt labels to spines. All edges speckled red. Contemporary bookplates to the front pastedowns and ownership signatures to the front endpapers of each, both from the Mitford family. Measuring 155 x 97mm, with the two titles from Mrs. Vigor appearing in volumes II and III and collating complete, respectively: viii, 207, [1 folding plate]; , viii, 78 (with no full title as issued, per ESTC). Detailed contemporary annotations throughout the first title, at times supplying redacted names or providing background and personal context for Vigor's narrative else clean. Second title with second contents leaf partially detached and small stain to page 37 else clean. Scarce institutionally and in trade, the earlier Vigor title has only appeared twice at auction (2016 and 1968); the later Vigor title is recorded at only 3 libraries according to ESTC and has never appeared at auction.
The much beloved daughter of a closeknit Anglican family, Jane Goodwin married Thomas Ward in 1718 before turning 20; the choice would draw her away from her home for much of the remainder of her life, introducing her to circles of wealth, adventure, and scandal. "1n 1728, Thomas Ward was appointed to the post of consul-general to Russia, and Jane accompanied her husband to St. Petersburg" (Sussex People). The next few years were turmoil for Jane as Ward died soon after their arrival; her swift second marriage, to his secretary came months after Ward's death but again ended in tragedy and loss. Pregnant, alone, and far from home, Jane made plans to return to England. It was on this journey that Jane met her third husband, "William Vigor, a Quaker merchant who was also returning to England"; together the two traveled overland by sledge across the "550 miles through the region of Livonia and the Duchy of Courland (now part of Latvia) before reaching the Port of Memel (now the Lithuanian city of Klaipeda) on the Baltic Sea..through Koningsberg and Danzig to Hanover before traveling to the port of Helvoit to Holland, from where they were able to obtain passage to England" (Sussex People). This epic journey, along with her cultural observations and accounts of people she met, shape these narratives.
In addition to the two Vigor travel narratives, the sammelband contains in volume III a complete first edition of An Additional Volume to the Letters of the Right Honourable Lady M---y W----y M-----e (London: T. Becket, 1767) as well as three early but defective copies of Montagu's Letters and Poems (in volumes I and III).
ESTC T64790 &T67234 (plus T79461). (Item #5582)