New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1839. First American edition. A London edition was also published in 1839. OCLC lists no copies of this American edition. All the editions listed are London editions and specified to be second editions or later. A bit of rubbing to corners. One front blank excised, leaving a stub. A bit of light toning and foxing but overall a very good, clean, and tight copy of a scarce book. Publisher’s green cloth stamped and ruled in blind, spine lettered and ruled in gilt. Twelvemo. vii pp., 149 pp. Item #16695
Woman’s Mission appears to be the only published book of the writer Sarah Lewis, whose biographical information remains largely obscure. In Woman’s Mission, Lewis builds upon the ideas of Aimé Martin (1781-1844) and argues for the “separate spheres” model of women’s influence and against women’s suffrage. The book was well-received and popular; it was cited both favorably and critically in contemporary writings including The Mothers of England by Sarah Stickney Ellis (1843) and A Plea for Woman by Marion Reid (also 1843).
The “Introductory Letter” to Woman’s Mission is an 1839 address from Bishop George Washington Doane (1799-1859) to the students of St. Mary’s Hall, which he founded in 1837 as an Episcopalian boarding school for girls. The school, which is located in Burlington, New Jersey, is now a coed day school called Doane Academy. Notable alums of the school include the novelist Miriam Coles Harris (1834-1925). While we do not know of any specific connection between Sarah Lewis and St. Mary’s Hall, it is reasonable to assume that Lewis was affiliated with the school in some way.