"THE BLOOD OF THOSE, WHO WERE KILLED AT LEXINGTON AND CONCORD, PROVED THE FIRM CEMENT OF AN EXTENSIVE UNION": FIRST EDITION OF HANNAH ADAMS' GROUNDBREAKING SUMMARY HISTORY OF NEW ENGLAND, 1799
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION) 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: H. Mann and J.H. Adams, 1799. Thick octavo, contemporary full brown tree calf, red morocco spine label; pp. (1-9), 10-513 (3). $3200.
First edition of this pioneering history of America's founding decades and revolutionary struggle by the first professional American woman author, with extensive coverage of early New England settlers, the Salem witch trials, the Boston Tea Party, the embattled Continental Congress, and dramatic accounts of decisive battles in the Revolution, as well as debates over the Constitution, very scarce in contemporary calf.
Hannah Adams, a distant cousin of President John Adams, is widely recognized as the first woman in America to make a living as a writer. "'It was poverty,' she says, 'not ambition, or vanity, that first induced me to become an author.' Her works are compilations from many sources, carefully made, and woven together with skill, clear and readable" (DAB I:60-61). "In assessing the literary achievements of Hannah Adams, the Reverend Samuel Willard wrote… that he need not provide much of an introduction since 'the author of this work is in such full possession of publick regard, from the benefit conferred by her writings, and the merits of her several productions are so generally known" (ANB). In her conclusion, Adams writes of America's hard-won independence: "inspired by the sacred flame of liberty… in an unequal war" with Britain, and the "establishment of the federal constitution, which placed the privileges of the United States on a permanent foundation." With "List of Subscribers" at rear, including John and Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams and Samuel Adams. ESTC W29505. Sabin 215. Howes A50. Evans 35075. Small inked "No. 3" above title page.
Text generally fresh with light scattered foxing, mild soiling as often; expert restoration to joints, spine ends and corners. A very good copy especially desirable in attractive contemporary tree calf.