London: Emily Faithfull, Printer and Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty, 1863. First edition of this collection of poetry and short fiction that includes the first appearance of pieces by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Harriet Martineau, Anthony Trollope, Mary Cowden Clark, George MacDonald, Charles Kingsley, Isa Craig, and other contemporary writers. With engraved decorative initials throughout. Small chip to top edge of lower board. Binding is otherwise clean, bright, and attractive. All edges gilt. Some foxing to leaves throughout. Contemporary ink signature to front free endpaper. Bookseller’s ticket to front free endpaper and binder’s ticket to lower pastedown. A very good, tight copy of a collaboration between poet and social reformer Isa Craig and Emily Faithfull, Queen Victoria’s official printer. Publisher’s green cloth with gilt border and crown device and gilt spine. Quarto. vi, 291 pp. Item #16788
Isa Craig (1831 – 1903) was a Scottish poet, novelist, and the first female secretary of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science. As an advocate for working class women, Craig was involved with the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women and a member of the Ladies’ Sanitary Association. Craig was the author of over twenty novels and collections of poetry and short fiction. She also wrote frequently in support of abolition and women’s suffrage and was a member of the Kensington Society, a suffragist discussion group. One of her most well-known works is her 1858 poem “On the Centenary of Burns: An Ode,” which Craig had written for a poetry contest. She won the contest against over 600 other candidates, including several prominent male writers of the time.
Emily Faithfull (1835 – 1895) was the founder of Victoria Press, which employed mostly women as typesetters and proofreaders, and a popular novelist. Victoria Press publications included The Victoria Regia (1861), which earned Faithfull the position of official printer to Queen Victoria; the beautiful Te Deum Laudamus (1868), illuminated by Faithfull’s sister Esther Faithfull Fleet; and the periodical Victoria Magazine, which ran from 1863 to 1880.