Dublin: Printed by W. Porter, 1800. First Dublin edition. Previous editions were published in London in 1798 and 1799. The first American edition was published in Hartford, Connecticut in 1799. With head- and tail-pieces sometimes attributed to Thomas Bewick. Some rubbing to spine and extremities. Some light foxing to endpapers and title-page. A very good, very clean and fresh copy. Contemporary brown calf with gilt rule and red morocco label on spine. Twelvemo. xxiv, 175 pp. Item #16889
A Mirror for the Female Sex is an educational work for young women that advocates for the importance of thorough education, sisterly love, friendship, and more. The “historical beauties” noted in the present work include many learned women like the translator and scholar Margaret Roper (1505–1544), daughter of Sir Thomas More; and the Dutch painter, women’s educational writer, and poet Anna Maria van Shurman (1607 – 1678). Mary Susanna Pilkington (née Hopkins, 1761 – 1839) was a poet, author, and educational writer. After three of her moralistic works were published by Elizabeth Newbery in 1797, she pivoted to writing educational works for women’s schools and published the present work, Biography for Girls (1798), and Mentorial Tales (1802). In the Oxford DNB, S.J. Skedd writes that Pilkington “echoed both Hannah More and Mary Wollstonecraft in arguing that girls should be given an intellectual education and in asserting that ‘the female mind is certainly as capable of acquiring knowledge as that of the other sex,’ (A Mirror for the Female Sex, p. 61).”.
Note that Hugo attributes the engravings in the present work to Bewick (The Bewick Collector, 123), but Tattersfield does not include the present work in his 2011 Bewick bibliography. Roscoe. John Newbery, J284.