Boston: Printed and Sold by Lincoln & Edmands, 1809. First edition. Some chipping at head and foot of spine, and a little light worming. Occasional light foxing. A good, clean copy. Contemporay quarter sheep over marbled boards, gilt-ruled spine. Twelvemo. 120 pp. Item #15613
Eleanor Read Emerson (1777-1808) was one of twelve children. Her own schooling was cut short by her father's early death, but she maintained "an ardent thirst for knowledge" and became a schoolteacher at fourteen. The present work begins with a thirty-two page sermon by her widower, who was as cousin of Ralph Waldo Emerson, but remainder of the book consists of her own writings, with a brief sketch of her life. In it, she writes movingly about her religious and social doubts, and her conviction that her sister and other Christians were saved while she was damned. Emerson continued to be a voracious reader throughout her life. She was a friend of Hannah Adams.
Emerson's widower is quoted as being critical of his wife's desire for education and knowledge: "While he thinks that great advantages may result from their pursuing mathematical and philosophical studies, he is convinced that much greater advantages may result from their pursuing studies of a different nature. He is fully of the opinion, that, if females wish to do do the greatest possible good, they must not attempt to know every thing; but content themselves to limit their attention to such pursuits, as are of the gredatest moral sand practical knowledge." Sabin 105302. See Feminist Companion to Literature in English.