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Aguilar, Grace.

Vale of Cedars.

Book

Rare First Edition
Aguilar, Grace. The Vale of Cedars; or, The Martyr. New York/Philadelphia: Appleton, 1850.
8vo.; one leaf of ads in the front; eight pages of ads, unopened, first page numbered "32," in the rear; contemporary pencil inscription on first blank; brown cloth, elaborately stamped in blind; spine stamped in gilt; spine sunned. In a specially made cloth slipcase.   
First edition of Aguilar's novel about the victimization of the Jews under Ferdinand and Isabella, with an eight-page "memoir" of Aguilar dated October 1849, which sketches Aguilar's early life, including her childhood pursuits in music, dance, religion, reading, and writing. Her health, always fragile, was impaired when both of her brothers left the homestead for professional pursuits. It was further taxed during an extended illness of her mother, and suffered a severe blow from which she never quite recovered when, in 1835, she contracted the measles. After her recovery, her father was struck by consumption and died in her arms. Aguilar then exerted what strength she had in helping one of her brothers, now returned to help support the family, in securing employment. The author of the preface reports:
Severe illness followed, and though it yielded after a time to skilful remedies and tender care, her excessive languor and severe headaches, continued to give her family and friends great uneasiness. …During all these demands upon her time, her thoughts, and her health, however, the ruling passion neither slumbered nor slept. She completed the Jewish Faith, and also prepared Home Influence for the press, though very unfit to have taxed her powers so far…
After a couple of months of recreational travel and rest, Aguilar died in Frankfurt, where she was buried.
Rare; though Singerman lists seven copies, our census reveals that only three of those are first editions.
(#3998)

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