New York: Harper & Brothers, 1860. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing, octavo size, 390 pp., from the library of the Science Hill School. Near fine. Item #19072607
Catherine Esther Beecher (1800-1878) , the sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was an outspoken educator and writer, and advocated for equal access to education for women. She founded the Hartford Female Seminary in 1823, where she taught for nine years; the founding of numerous other schools, particularly in the American West, are credited to her ideas on education. Although she was opposed to women's suffrage, she strongly believed in the social and intellectual importance of the home and women's positions within the educational and domestic spheres (n. b., info from the website of Women's History).
In "An Appeal to the People", Beecher favours a personal examination of God's teachings in the Bible, valuing the agency of the people; she writes in the Introduction that ". . .people are endowed with principles of common sense by which they can educe [sic] from the works of God a system of natural religion far superior [to those of church creeds or theological teachings]. . ." The book also includes a chapter titled "The Position of Women as Chief Educator of the Mind", in which Beecher elaborates on women's role in education.
Interestingly, the sole prior owner markings in this book provide a clue as to its provenance: written on the front endpapers, and on the rear paste-down, in pencil, are the words "Science Hill"; on the front pastedown is also written the date "1860" (the year of publication), and, also in pencil, written on the copyright page, is what appears to be a library code of "230 / B 39". Science Hill School was founded in 1825 by Julia Ann Tevis (1799-1880), and "was one of the first schools founded for girls west of the Allegheny Mountains...[and which] utilized the Lancastrian system, in which older or more advanced students taught the younger pupils. The school name derived from Tevis' belief that girls were as able to master the sciences as young men..." (n.b., quote from Wiki). We surmise that Tevis, sharing the same beliefs in education for women as did Catherine Beecher, added this volume to the library of the Science Hill School as soon as it was available; it does not seem too much of a stretch to assume that the two women communicated and perhaps were friends, although we found no direct evidence of this during our online research.
___DESCRIPTION: Full aubergine pebbled cloth, publisher's device and ruled borders blind-embossed on the front and rear boards, the spine with blind-embossed rules and gilt lettering, top edge stained brown, light yellow endpapers; octavo size (7 7/8" by 5.5"), pagination: [i-v] vi-x  2-380.
___CONDITION: Volume is near fine, the cloth binding mostly clean with just a few stray spots of light soil, the colour deep with the spine unsunned, the corners straight, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, and the interior is clean and bright; light bumping to the head and tail of the spine, light rubbing to the corners, some foxing to the first and last few pages, and the only prior owner markings being those of the Science Hill School as noted above.
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