Summary History of New England, A.; From the First Settlement at Plymouth, to the Acceptance of the Federal Constitution. Comprehending a General Sketch of the American War. Published According to Act of Congress.

First Edition of the First History of the United States
From the Mayflower to the Constitution

ADAMS, Hannah. A Summary History of New England, From the First Settlement at Plymouth, to the Acceptance of the Federal Constitution. Comprehending a General Sketch of the American War. Published According to Act of Congress. Dedham: Printed for the Author by H. Mann and J.H. Adams, 1799.

First edition. Small quarto (8 7/16 x 5 in; 215 x 125 mm). 513, [1, Notes], [2, List of Subscribers] pp.

Full contemporary calf. Expertly rebacked, with original crimson spine label laid on. Half inch tear to fore edge of List of Subscribers, not affecting text. Light toning and foxing throughout. Glue ghost to front free endpaper. Prior owner's rubber stamp to endpapers. A very good copy. Housed in a quarter black morocco clamshell box.

Though well-represented in institutional libraries, only three copies have come to auction within the last thirty-five years, each in well-worn, heavily browned, stained and foxed condition.

"The first history to trace the United States from the Mayflower to the ratification of the federal Constitution" (Women Writers: An Exhibition of Works from the 17th Century to the Present. Univ. of North Texas Libraries, http://www.library.unt.edu/rarebooks/exhibits/women/19th.htm).

"Probably the first professional female writer in America" (DAB). "Long the only female admitted to the Boston Atheneum" (Feminist Companion to Literature in English).

"Miss Adams (1755-1831) suffered temporary blindness during the writing of A Summary History of New England, and recovered only by complete rest and the constant application of laudanum [tincture of opium] and seawater. Her own abridgment (1804) of this book, for school use, had been anticipated by a cheaper edition issued by the Rev. Jedidiah Morse, a 'friend' of the author, who, Miss Adams alleged, had infringed upon her rights… Many legends grew up around the intensity of her mental application - according to one, the librarian at the Boston Atheneum, unable to disengage her from her book, used to 'lock her in,' while he went home to lunch. That she was possessed of many New England 'peculiarities' is quite likely; but that she was perhaps the first American woman to make writing a profitable profession bears not only likelihood but significance" (Kuntz & Haycroft).

Howes A-50. Sabin 215. Evans 35075. Ludewig, The Literature of American Local History (1846) ALH-024. Item #01365

Out of stock

See all items by