Commonplace book of a Victorian woman refusing to perform as "angel in the house"

East Coast, US: 1859-1862.

Price: $750 save 20% $600

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A celebration and satire of unmarried womanhood, including original music and poetry

(Item #5985) Commonplace book of a Victorian woman refusing to perform as "angel in the house" Commonplace, Victoria Jones, Women's Social History.

Commonplace book of a Victorian woman refusing to perform as "angel in the house"

East Coast, US: 1859-1862. Morocco stamped in gilt, measuring 7.5 x 6 inches and containing thirteen manuscript pages in a variety of hands with entries from women and men living in East Coast states including New York and Vermont. A somewhat celebratory, somewhat satirical collection of contributions dedicated, ironically, to a woman named Victoria who, unlike the queen, insisted on remaining unmarried.

One of the benefits of a small, well-curated commonplace book is that it contains very few of the stereotypical friendship poems. Mark Spaulding is almost alone in his bland entry wishing for Victoria, "May your prospects in life be as bright and cloudless as this beautiful morning." Rather, those engaged with the book give us a sense that Victoria was audacious, outgoing, and possibly even stubborn. An original musical composition by the published writer V. E. Marston is titled "Victoria's Fantasie!" -- centering the recipient's thoughts and desires. A lengthy entry from her uncle Jonathan describes her as "one Earthly intelligent being," urging her to let her talents "shine out in her life." Most overtly, a friend signing only as F. M. M. writes: "Oh Vic! Twill never, ever do, for you to live without a beau. Your time is flying fast away, And bitter will you rue the day If you persist in singleness, And never know the sweets that bless A life of matrimony." Humorously, among the plates included in the commonplace book is one title "The Uneducated Wife," which makes one wonder whether Victoria or a cheeky friend selected the book.

While her name has made it difficult for us to peg down Victoria Jones' exact history, scholars may have better luck. And even in the absence of such biographical details, the present commonplace offers opportunities for contrast with so many of the more traditional courtship-and-marriage focused manuscripts of its ilk.
(Item #5985)

Price: $750 save 20% $600

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Commonplace book of a Victorian woman refusing to perform as "angel in the house"
Commonplace book of a Victorian woman refusing to perform as "angel in the house"
Commonplace book of a Victorian woman refusing to perform as "angel in the house"
Commonplace book of a Victorian woman refusing to perform as "angel in the house"