Florence NIGHTINGALE   |   John Stuart MILL

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(NIGHTINGALE, Florence) MILL, John Stuart. Autobiography. London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1873. Octavo, original pebbled green cloth.

First edition, second issue (published the same year as the first), of Mill's important autobiography—a fantastic presentation/association copy inscribed and signed by Florence Nightingale on the front flyleaf: "To Frau Auguste von Littrow-Bischoff, her grateful Florence Nightingale, London Nov[em]ber 1873." The recipient Auguste von Littrow was a prominent German-Austrian author and women's movement leader.

Florence Nightingale is "the most eminent founder of the modern profession of nursing" (McDonald, Collected Works II:1). Called "The Lady with the Lamp" for her heroic service in the Crimean War, "Nightingale had become a legend by the war's end. She established (1860) the Nightingale School and Home for training nurses in London and was the first woman awarded the British Order of Merit" (Burt, Biography Book, 318). Mill's Autobiography covers his childhood, during which "he was a singularly precocious child, and was entirely educated by his father, who from the first carried out unflinchingly a severe system of training," and continues through 1870, three years before his death (DNB).

Nightingale and Mill corresponded regularly during the 1860s, and one might imagine that Nightingale's views influenced Mill's own ideas as he wrote The Subjection of Women, his 1869 classic that attempts to define and defend the rights of women at the time. "Interwoven with some religious and philosophical matters, the Nightingale-Mill correspondence… is essentially a debate on women's rights. One debate concerns terminology and hinges on the entire validity of the question of publicity for the women's movement, then in its infancy, as well as the opening of the medical profession to women. The other focuses on differing perceptions of the role of women in political action… Mill's views on women's rights were public knowledge in his own day and have continued to be studied exhaustively. Florence Nightingale has been studied as the remarkable woman responsible for opening a respected profession for women. The point is often made that she refused to sign the women's petition Mill presented to the House of Commons in 1866 and would not at first become a member of the London National Society for Women's Suffrage" (Pugh, in Journal of British Studies, Volume 21, Issue 2, Spring 1982). Second issue, with the errata leaf at rear. With advertising leaf at rear. PMM 345 (notes). Recipient Auguste von Littrow (née von Bischoff-Altenstein, 1819-90) was a German-Austrian author and women's movement leader. In 1839, she married astronomer Karl Ludwig von Littrow and settled in Vienna, and the Littrow household soon developed into a meeting place of Viennese society. Infrequent pencil marginalia.

Inner paper hinges and extremities of cloth with minor restoration. A very good copy, scarce and desirable presented by Florence Nightingale and with an excellent association.

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