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Townsend, Mira.

Reports and Realities from the Sketch-book of a Manager of the Rosine Association.


Report Of A Ladies' Aid Society,
Inscribed And Annotated Throughout
By The Author
(Townsend, Mira). Reports and Realities from the Sketch-Book of a Manager of the Rosine Association…Philadelphia: John Duross, Printer…, 1855.
8vo.; preliminaries lightly foxed; brown cloth, elaborately stamped in gilt and blind; heel of spine jarred, nearly chipped but intact; else a handsome copy. Signed by the author Mira Townsend on the title page; with her additional signatures (multiple times) and notes throughout the volume.
First edition of this anonymously published work by feminist activist Mira Townsend. The entire volume is a report on the activities of the Rosine Association, a sanctuary and social agency that worked with poor, disenfranchised, fallen and criminal women. From the number of notes by Townsend throughout the volume we deduce that this copy belonged either to Townsend herself or to a close friend of the author.
The volume is a collection of reports of the Rosine Association, founded in 1847, who also ran the Rosine House, presumably a settlement or safe house for women who had become separated from society either by law or by habit. Townsend describes the population of Rosine Association clients somewhat affectionately as follows:
  We had been associating for more than seven years with thieves, and vagabonds,
and drunkards,and degraded women, and among them all we have found very few who have not manifested, amid their errors and follies, that there was still
a divine principle and a consciousness of duty at times operating upon their minds, which only needed congenital circumstances to develop them. (p. v)
Townsend also articulates one of the earliest concepts of "sisterhood" in the modern feminist sense when discussing her charges:
  …The purpose of forming an association [such as ours is] to endeavor to
  rescue a portion of our female community form a life of shame and misery…
  and our minds would naturally shrink from engaging in it, were it not that
  we remember that they are our sisters. We may turn our backs upon them,
  we may withdraw (as most of us have ever done) our sympathies, our kindness
  from them; we may cast upon them the cold look of scorn; we may give them
  words of reproach and condemnation - but they are yet our sisters; and ought
  we not endeavor to inquire in that respects they differ from us? (pp. 12-13)
A unique copy of an interesting volume that provides a chilling look at the treatment of outcast women in the mid-nineteenth century U.S.

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