"HOW GREAT A DUTY IS IT, THEN, TO STUDY MODES OF COMFORT, AND PRESERVE THE SONG OF CHEERFULNESS IN THE ROUTINE OF DOMESTIC INDUSTRY"
PACKARD, Clarissa, pseudonym of GILMAN, Caroline Howard. Recollections of a Housekeeper. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1834. Small octavo, original gilt-stamped navy cloth. $650.
First edition of this autobiographical novel about life as a 19th-century homemaker in New England, in original cloth.
This autobiographical novel by Caroline Howard Gilman offers insight into the life of a homemaker in New England. The wife of a Unitarian minister based in North Carolina, native New Englander Caroline Howard Gilman (aka Clarissa Packard) took the unusual step of establishing a writing career outside of her duties as a pastor's wife and the mother of six children. Gilman embarked on her career by producing a highly popular children's weekly. Her success prompted further endeavors and she became a mainstay of 19th-century domestic fiction. "She also recognized that her domestic novels, originally serialized in the Southern Rose, represented 'the first attempt, in that particular mode, to enter into the recesses of American homes and hearths.' Gilman was innovative in her introduction of women's concerns into mainstream American fiction. In her novels, she provided a valuable chronicle of middle-class American domestic life; equally important, she enhanced the stature of her women characters by exalting their function as moral centers within the family and as administrators of logistically complex household structures… In her intensely active life as writer, wife, mother, and publisher, Gilman—like Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Fuller, and Harriet Beecher Stowe—offers a dynamic model of the intellectually and relationally engaged 19th-century American woman" (ANB). With 26 pages of advertisements at rear. Contemporary ink owner signature. Pencil initials.
Moderate foxing to interior, light wear to cloth, mild toning to spine. An extremely good copy. Scarce.