Commonplace book. Eliza Whitney.
Commonplace book
Commonplace book

Commonplace book

New York and Philadelphia: 1849-1857. 4to, approx. 300 pages, in ink, in a legible hand; original morocco-backed marbled boards, the boards rather rubbed, the spine partly perished, joints and hinges cracked, sewing structure still intact and the boards are not separated. Laid in are nearly a dozen newspaper clipping with poems, or separate sheets of paper with more extracts. In 1857, Eliza Whitney (1826-1909) married the Rev. Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe, bishop of central Pennsylvania. She was his third wife and the mother of Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe, Jr., and Wallis Eastburn Howe, among others. Her sister was Mary Jane (Whitney) Redfield, which explains the ownership signature of John H. Redfield, New York 1839 on the flyleaf, Redfield (1815-1895) a merchant and corresponding secretary of the Lyceum of Natural History in New York. Beneath his signature is that of Eliza Whitney, dated Philadelphia, 1849. This commonplace book is more extensive than most, There are many extracts from Eliza's reading but also the occasional instructional and historical text. Most of the entries are dated, sometimes with the city in which she is writing. There is a table of public buildings in New York and the dates of their construction; a table of governors of New York; a table of Roman Emperors and who knew that the fire engine was first introduced in New York in 1731, or that the upper reservoir of N. Y. water works is 1,826 feet long. She reports on votes in the N.Y. Senate, gives a synopsis of the second part of the third through fifth book of Schiller's Thirty Years' War (25 pages, perhaps 8000 words!). She makes 6 pages of extracts from something known as "The Story of a Family" by "S.W." who she identifies as a "maiden aunt." Among the quoted authors and poets are Chaucer, St. Augustine, Evelyn, Bacon, Pepys, Donne, Martin Luther, Wordsworth, Conybeare, Cowper, Voltaire, Irving, Southey, Addison, Fisher Ames, Goethe, Tennyson, Thackeray, Whittier, Browning, Stowe, Longfellow, Carlyle (lengthy extracts from Sartor Resartus), Spencer, Caroline Fry, Edgeworth, Sigourney, Burton, Halleck, Hollinshed, Mart Howitt, Ruskin, Emerson, and I know I've missed some. Oddly, no Shakespeare or Milton. All to say the young woman was extremely well read and when the Rev. Howe came along he had to have been humbled by her learning. Item #56930

Price: $2,000.00

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