Boston: .K. Wiggin and Wm. Parsons Lunt, 1866/. One of thirty-five royal quarto (large paper) copies, numbered and signed “Wiggin and Lunt” in ink above edition statement. 250 small quarto copies were also issued. The account of Deborah Sampson, reprinted here, was written by Herman Mann and originally published as The Female Review: or, Memoirs of an American Young Lady in 1797. . With an engraved frontisportrait (reproduced from the first edition). Primary title-page printed in red and black. With a separate title-page for the text of the original 1797 account. Also with reproductions of two signatures (Sampson and John Hancock). Some soiling to spine. Chipping to edges of wrappers and first couple leaves. Unopened. Some light foxing to edges of frontisportrait. A very good, wide, and internally bright copy of this scarce large paper edition. Original brown paper wrappers with parchment paper spine. Quarto. 267 [[/. Item #16916
Massachusetts-born soldier Deborah Sampson (later Gannett, 1760 – 1827) enlisted in the Continental Army in 1782 and was assigned to the Light Infantry Company of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment. She served for eighteen months, disguised as a man under the identity of “Robert Shirtliff,” until she was injured in battle and honorably discharged at West Point in 1783. After her service, “Sampson won some recognition in her lifetime as a pioneering female soldier and public speaker,” (Hiltner, p. 93). In 1805, she successfully petitioned the Massachusetts State Legislature for a pension, which had been initially denied because she was a woman.
In “The Example of Our Heroine,” Judith Hiltner writes, “Mann’s 1797 Sampson…was a fictional construct shaped to inculcate the early republican values virtues of industry, reason, and self-sufficiency, and to establish the limits of female patriotism while endorsing the popular ideology of chaste female influence,” (p. 98). It was a sensationalized account that only partially reflected Sampson’s experiences in the Continental Army. Mann (1771 – 1833) was a publisher, bookseller, and newspaper editor. Though he claimed to be Sampson’s friend, Mann was likely seeking profit by pretending that his account was reliably sourced from Sampson’s own recollections. Hiltner, Judith. “‘The Example of Our Heroine’: Deborah Sampson and the Legacy of Herman Mann’s The Female Review.” American Studies, vol. 41, no. 1 (Spring 2000), pp. 93-113.