SUPERBLY BOUND “AUTOGRAPH EDITION” OF THE WORKS OF MARY AUGUSTA WARD
WARD, Mary Augusta Arnold. The Writings of Mrs. Humphrey Ward. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin (Riverside Press), 1909. Sixteen volumes. Octavo, three-quarter brown morocco, raised bands, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt, uncut and unopened. $2500.
Superb limited “Autograph Edition,” number 217 of only 750 copies, of the works of turn-of-the-century novelist Mary A. Ward, signed by her in Volume I, profusely illustrated with frontispiece photogravures (in two states— one hand-colored) and numerous full-page plates of principal people and places.
The declared aim of English novelist Mary Augusta Arnold Ward was “equalization” in society. She was the granddaughter of Thomas Arnold, founder of Rugby School, and niece of the poet Matthew Arnold. A leading intellectual of her day, she supported higher education for women and was appointed as one of the first seven women magistrates in 1920. Ward began her writing career by contributing articles to magazines, while working on a children’s book, Milly and Olly (1881). Her novels, 25 in number, “deal with social and religious themes, frequently contrasting traditional belief with the values of progress and intellectual freedom” (Drabble, 1044). Lady Rose’s Daughter was the best-selling novel in America in 1903, as was The Marriage of William Ashe in 1905 (New York Times). Her most popular novel, however, was the religious “novel with a purpose” Robert Elsmere (1888), which traced the mental evolution and religious crisis of a young English clergyman. Ward was one of the founders of the British Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League in 1908 and became editor of the Anti-Suffrage Review. In accordance with this latter conviction, she published some of her subsequent writings under the name “Mrs. Humphry Ward.”
A beautifully bound set in fine condition.