Woman’s Worth and Worthlessness. The Complement to “A New Atmosphere.”
Hamilton, Gail.

New York: Harper & Brothers, 1872. First edition. Spine extremities and corners a bit worn, small chip to outer margin and short closed tear to pp. 139-140, neither affecting text. A very good, bright copy. Publisher’s green cloth ruled and stamped in blind and gilt, gilt-lettered spine, beveled edges, brown coated endpapers Octavo. 291, [1, blank], 8 (publ (Item ID: 16635)

$450.00

Mary Abigail Hamilton (1838-1896) was brought up on a farm in Essex County, Massachusetts. She graduated from the Ipswich Female Seminary and became a successful teacher, but grew dissatisfied with the poor pay and long hours and decided to try her hand at writing. In 1856 she sent samples of her poetry to the antislavery publication “National Era” in Washington which impressed the editor, Gamaliel Bailey because of her individual style. He invited her to become governess to his children, while establishing herself as a writer, which she did. A shy woman, she adopted the pen name Gail Hamilton. In 1862 she published Country Living and Country Thinking, which was an immediate success. It led to four other books being published by her within the decade.

In Women's Worth and Worthlessness, a collection of essays,she advocates a liberal education for women. She sees writing as a means of independence and encourages women to write, especially if men tell them not to. While Dodge believed in education and equal employment opportunities for women, she did not think that the women’s suffrage movement would improve women’s economic standing and tended to favor a more indirect approach to political influence. Here she argues that any reform in women’s lives must first occur within the home. She fears that women’s suffrage would prove an enormous burden for women, whose proper and most important role was within the family sphere. She was adamant that women held the utmost authority within the family circle.

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