Boston: Printed by B. Edes & Sons, 1784. First edition. Joints cracking, but sound. Lower corner of title-page chipped, shaving a couple of letters in the imprint, lightly foxed throughout, as usual. Contemporary ink signature on title-page, early ownership marks on front endpapers. A very good copy. Contemporary sheep, lightly worn at extremities. Octavo. , ii, , 204. lxxxiii, [1, errata], [22, index, and list of subscribers] pp. Item #14347
Hannah Adams (1755-1831) was the first woman in the United States to make her living as a writer. Born in Braintree, Massachusetts, Adams was a distant cousin of President John Adams and the daughter of a lifelong bibliophile called “Book” Adams, whose history included a failed attempt at bookselling. Too frail to go to school, she was taught Latin, Greek, geography and logic by theological students who boarded with her family. One of these students introduced her to Broughton’s Dictionary of Religions, which led to her interest in writing on religious topics. The present book, Adams’ first, was an important contribution to this literature, in that she represented denominations from the perspective of their adherents, without injecting her own opinions. (She herself was a Unitarian). It includes one of the earliest accounts of the Shakers and a description of modern Jewry. This work went through four editions in America under different titles and was republished in England. Her other works include A Summary History of New England (1799), The Truth and Excellence of the Christian Religion (1804), History of the Jews (1812), Letters on the Gospels (1826).
Evans 18319. Sabin 208.