New York: Fowlers & Wells, Phrenological Cabinet, 1848. First edition. The title-page identifies this as the “stereotype edition,” but we could not locate copies of any earlier editions. OCLC records only ten copies. With over forty remarkable illustrations by William Howland including numerous astronomical diagrams, star charts for eleven constellations, and portraits of important astronomers like Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton. Note that the ads are for publications on phrenology, all of which (and the present work) were published by Lorenzo N. Fowler, the husband of Lydia Folger Fowler. Rubbing to spine and extremities. Ink signatures to both upper and lower endpapers (one dated 1854 and one dated 1880). Lacking the diagram frontispiece. Some foxing and toning throughout. Terminal blank lacking (cut out at gutter). Despite the lacking plate, still a good, tight copy of this scarce astronomy textbook. Publisher’s cloth stamped in blind with gilt-lettered spine. Twelvemo. 165, [4 ads] pp. Item #17026
Lydia Folger Fowler (1822 - 1879) was a groundbreaking physician, lecturer, and temperance advocate. With the help of Lucretia Coffin Mott, her cousin, Fowler enrolled in Central Medical College in Syracuse, New York in 1849. Graduating from the college made her the first American-born woman to earn a medical degree (she was preceded in the accomplishment only by Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who was English-born). She was later appointed as the Professor of Midwifery and Diseases of Women and Children at the college, which made her the first woman professor of medicine in the United States. After the college’s eventual closure, Fowler and her phrenologist husband, Lorenzo, relocated to Rochester, New York, where Fowler opened her own practice.
Fowler’s success on the United States lecture circuit eventually led her to Europe, where she and her husband frequently lectured on medicine and phrenology, respectively. Fowler was also the first woman to address a society of medical men at a time when the practice was considered inappropriate. She eventually settled in London, where she became an active member of the British Women’s Temperance Union and provided medical care, midwifery services, and hygiene instructions to impoverished people in Britain and Ireland.