Hartford, Conn: Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, 1881. First edition of this rare work by Julia Evelina Smith (1792-1886), a suffragist and the first woman to publish her own complete translation of the Bible. Julia’s sister, the suffragist Abby Hadassah Smith (1797-1879), was the original collector of the poems, which were written by their mother Hannah Hadassah Smith (1767–1850). Some of the poems collected here were written by Hannah in Italian and translated by Julia. Front free endpaper coming loose. Contemporary pencil signature on preliminary blank and a second pencil signature on front free endpaper of “Pamela Hale,” possibly the Washington State businesswoman and educator Pamela Case Hale (1834-1915). A bit of foxing and some light toning to pages, but overall a very good, clean, and tight copy of a rare book edited by the first woman to completely translate the Bible into English. Publisher’s purple cloth lettered in gilt (cover title: Mother’s Poems). Some rubbing to spine and a bit of soiling to cloth. Green endpapers. Twelvemo.  pp., pp. 6-55. Item #16740
In 1876, Julia and Abby Smith independently funded the publication of their edition of the Bible, which Julia had translated over the course of eight years with a particular attention toward literalism. The edition was significant in part because it was one of the most easily accessible contemporary Bible translations in English until the publication of the British Revised Version in 1881; it now remains a milestone in women’s history.
According to Julia’s introduction to the present work, Hannah was an astronomy enthusiast who was well-versed in Latin, French, and Italian. Most of the poems are in response to psalms and books of the Bible, and several, including “To Julia” (pp. 31-32), include Scottish slang that reflects the roots of the family and their involvement in the Sandemanian sect of the Church of Scotland. The present book offers a perspective on the later work of Julia E. Smith, as well as on her relationships and collaboration with her family. All the women of the Smith family, including Abby and Julia’s three older sisters, were inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in 1994 for their commitment to suffrage, women’s education, and abolitionism. OCLC lists one physical copy (at Yale).