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Child, Lydia Maria.

Appeal in Favor of That Class Called Africans, An.


Child, L[ydia] M[aria]. An Appeal in Favor of That Class Called Africans. Boston: Allen & Ticknor, 1833.  
8vo, 232 pp.; some foxing; contemporary gift inscription on front flyleaf, "Miss Harriet Sopliffe/from a sincere friend"; pencil notation on a front blank, "Before writing this work/Mrs. C read through thirteen/volumes of the laws of the/Southern States"; pencil notation in an old hand on the back blank, "Nigger Equality"; with errata slip and tipped in frontispiece; blue muslin expertly rebacked with spine and paper label laid down.
First edition. An Appeal in Favor of That Class Called Africans is the first book of the American abolitionist movement, and one of the movement's key documents.  (Although William Lloyd Garrison had started publishing his journal, Liberator, in 1831.)  
Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) was the youngest of six children born in Massachusetts to an old New England family. Noted abolitionist, women's rights advocate, scholar and popular author, Child was a member of the Transcendental circle formed around Emerson and Fuller. Married to one of the founders of the New England Anti-Slavery Society, David Lee Child, her first published book was the novel, Hobomok, in 1824. She followed that with the immensely popular The Frugal Housewife in 1826. Then, stirred to action in 1833, she joined the anti-slavery cause and published An Appeal… For her efforts, she was greeted with much hostility from a large section of the public who boycotted her books. However, the antipathy Mrs. Child encountered did not deter her. She continued to write against slavery and injustices to Native Americans, and in 1841 agreed to move to New York as editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard. Returning to Massachusetts in 1843, she continued to write and be active in all reform movements, especially anti-slavery. One authority says simply, "Mrs. Child's anti-slavery writings contributed in no slight degree to the formation of public sentiment on the subject." Mrs. Child was one of the very few American women to make a living exclusively from writing in the early nineteenth century. This is certainly her most significant book, and this copy, with its contemporary notations, bears the stamp of the society into which it was published. Afro-Americana 2270.  BAL 3116.   Dumond, p. 38.  Sabin 12711.

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