Wellington, Salop: Printed by and for F. Houlston and Son, 1817. Tenth edition. Although Oxford DNB states that the first edition was published in 1815, OCLC records an 1814 edition held by eight libraries, though it seems this date is taken from the engraved frontispiece. OCLC records no copies of the first edition, only noting copies of the second and third editions of 1815. All early editions are scarce, known in ten copies or less. Additional engraved title-page included in pagination. Binding extremities very slightly rubbed with a few minor scuffs. Intermittent trivial foxing, the occasional minor stain. Contemporary ink inscription on recto of preliminary blank. A very good copy. Contemporary calf ruled in gilt, gilt-spine with gilt-lettered brown morocco spine label. Twelvemo. 139 pp. Item #17348
Mary Martha Sherwood (née Butt, 1775-1851) was a children’s writer, educationist, and the daughter of Reverend George Butt (1741-1795), a chaplain to George III. She married her cousin Captain Henry Sherwood (1776-1849) and, leaving her daughter in England, relocated with him to India per his military orders. While there, she bore four more children; she believed the premature death of her infant son Henry was the result of his having been poisoned with opium by his Indian nurse. She set up evangelical schools in the various Indian postings where she and her family resided. Sherwood penned over 400 titles, used India as a constant resource for her writings, and spent most of her life writing, teaching, and setting up a boarding school for young ladies. Her most famous work was The Fairchild Family (1818-1847). The History of Little Henry tells the story of an “angelic, dying eight-year-old British orphan who catechizes and directs the conversion of his Hindu bearer Boosy” (Oxford DNB).
The Feminist Companion to Literature in English, p. 976. OCLC records one copy of this tenth edition at Indiana University.