"WHEN MEN AND WOMEN ARE MADE EQUALS IN THE EYE OF THE LAW, AND NOT BEFORE, SHALL WE COMPLETE THE FOUNDATIONS OF A JUST COMMONWEALTH": FIRST EDITION OF SEWALL'S THE LEGAL CONDITION OF WOMEN IN MASSACHUSETTS, 1869
SEWALL, Samuel E. The Legal Condition of Women in Massachusetts. Boston: C.K. Whipple, 1869. Octavo, disbound, original printed beige paper wrappers; pp. 15. $550.
First edition of this learned summary of the state of women's rights and suffrage in Massachusetts pointing out areas in need of reform, with the constitution of The New England Women's Suffrage Association—which was behind the pamphlet's release—published at the rear.
Samuel E. Sewall was a well-known Massachusetts abolitionist and suffragist. A lawyer by profession, Sewall routinely took (and won) cases involving escaped slaves and women whose rights were being violated. Often, he used those cases to pursue legislative reforms that enhanced the rights of oppressed groups. Sewall was a dogged supporter of women who sought to reform publicly such as suffragist and abolitionist Lucretia Mott, abolitionist Abby Kelley, and woman doctor Marie Elisabeth Zakrzewska. Moreover, Sewall regularly wrote persuasive articles defending women's right to hold public office, to serve on juries, and to vote. This brief pamphlet provides a summary of women's rights in Massachusetts as of 1869 while also highlighting areas in dire need of reform such as property transfers upon marriage. This work was offered for sale by Charles K. Whipple, who was also serving as recording secretary for The New England Women's Suffrage Association at the time of publication. This is No. 5 in the Woman's Suffrage Tracts series; earlier installments in the series were written by Henry Ward Beecher and John Stuart Mill. A revised edition of this work was published the following year. Sewall went on to write at least two follow-ups to this work: The Legal Condition of Women in Massachusetts in 1875 and The Legal Condition of Women in Massachusetts in 1886.
Only occasional foxing to interior, light wear and faint soiling to original wrappers. Extremely good condition.