Select Female Biography; Comprising Memoirs of Eminent British Ladies, Derived from Original and Other Authentic Sources.
[ Roberts, Mary ].

London: Printed for Harvey and Darton, 1829. Second edition. The first edition was published in 1821 (London: John and Arthur Arch). The first edition is scarce with OCLC noting only five copies, only one of which is in the United States Very minor wear to boards. Frontispiece slightly foxed, light offsetting from frontispiece. A near fine, clean copy Contemporary full orangish-brown calf, double ruled in gilt and tooled in blind, gilt spine in six compartments with gilt-lettered red morocco label. Marbled edges and endpapers. Engraved frontispiece. vi, [1], [1, blank], 395 (Item ID: 16559)


Mary Roberts (1788-1864) was born to a Quaker family and her some of her ancestors included Quaker botanist Thomas Lawson (1630-1691) and the Quaker humorist John Roberts (1623-1684). Growing up in the countryside, Roberts developed an interest in natural history, which served as the basis for her best known work, Annals of My Village, which described the village of Sheepscombe and provided valuable insights into turn of the nineteenth century natural history and the daily rural life. In the introduction, Roberts states that she wrote Select Female Biography in order to “revive examples of the illustrious dead, and to concentrate, in a narrow compass, some of the brightest rays of moral and intellectual excellence” (p. v). She notes that some of the material is abridged from a “valuable old work” (Gibbon’s Memoirs of Pious Women”) with some simplifying of the language to make it more accessible to the then-modern reader. Some of the notable women included in Select Female Biogeaphy include Princess Charlotte of Wales (1796-1817), Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806), Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554), Elizabeth Hamilton (1756?-1816), Miss Anne Askew (1521-1546), and the Countess of Warwick (Mary Boyle, 1624-1678).

Darton G816, noting the second edition. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English, p. 910. Oxford DNB

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