New York: Published for the Authors, 1854. First edition. Sunning and some soiling to cloth. Tear to front flyleaf repaired with document tape. Tears to a couple leaves a fore-edge, not touching text. Leaves are clean and fresh. A very good, tight, and internally bright copy. Publisher’s blindstamped light brown cloth with gilt spine. Twelvemo. 288 pp. Item #16945
Book agents Sarah Mendell and Charlotte Hosmer traveled through New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, and Canada over the course of 1853. The present work chronicles their adventures, particularly their travels through Virginia and North Carolina (including Richmond, Petersburg, Norfolk, and Raleigh). The writers detail their opinions on their own professions and the attitudes of others toward woman book agents: for example, one Virginia woman expresses disappointment that the authors are not employed as teachers. The writers also describe their observations of slavery and Southern culture as they sell books to the wealthy families of the South. “Reasons, do you ask, why we have written a book? For one: as pioneers in a new sphere of labor for our sex, we would make known to them our success, and open to them the new avenue to Industry and Independence…[We] saw people in their every-day clothes, and from our unpretending position, they showed themselves as they were…And third — and are not three reasons enough, for women, at least, who are not supposed to have any reasons? — we would replenish our purse, and turn our labor and thought to profit,” (pp. 5-6).
Clark III, 361: “A real contribution to American travel literature.” Howes M513. Sabin 47798.