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Adams, Hannah.

Memoir, A.


Adams, Hannah. A Memoir of Miss Hannah Adams. Written by herself. With additional notices by a friend. Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1832.
8vo.; frontispiece portrait with facsimile signature; light foxing to preliminaries; reddish brown cloth; spine bumped; spine label lightly scuffed. In a specially made quarter-morocco slipcase.
First edition of Adams's posthumously published memoir, written for the support of her younger sister. Singerman 525. Adams's narrative fills the first 43 pages; the remaining fifty pages comprise "Notices in Continuation, by a friend." An introductory note points out that Adams wrote this "with the modesty and unobtrusiveness which distinguished her character. It appears as if composed reluctantly, under the feeling that the community could hardly care to know anything about the struggles, disappointments, hopes and purposes of an individual so humble as herself." As a result, while Adams's friends will find her memoir a valuable "parting legacy," those who did not know her in life "would be poorly satisfied with the short sketch she has given of herself." With this statement, Adams's anonymous friend justifies the biography which constitutes the second half of the volume.
The manner of Adams's autobiography belies the considerable time and energy she devoted to her work, and its powerful and far-reaching import: her first book, An Alphabetical Compendium of the Various Sects (1784) was well-received and widely-reprinted, and her History of the Jews (1812; London, 1818; Leipzig, 1819-20) is commonly held to have been directly responsible for stimulating the emigration of many foreign Jews to the United States.  

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