Description

    Memoirs of Elleanor Eldridge in Two Parts. (Providence: B.T. Albro, 1842) volume 1- 128 pages, volume 2- 128 pages, contemporary half morocco with marbled paper covered sides, woodcut frontispiece in both volumes, 4" x 5.25". A rare pairing of both parts of the Eldridge story, uniformly and attractively bound. These are early editions following the first printings in 1838 of the Memoirs and 1839 of the Second Book. Together being the tale of a hardworking but long-suffering free Northern black woman whose grandmother was a Native American of the Narragansett tribe whose African-American family members had been enslaved prior to the war. These two volumes describe how Eldridge made use of her profits from working as a dairy woman and as a maid to purchase real estate, but came close to losing everything through some questionable legal shenanigans before successfully defending her rights in court. The second book, which is particularly uncommon, recaps Eldridge's life before offering a series of fanciful tales as told by Eldridge's friends; the book was meant to continue the fundraising effort begun by the first volume. It is unclear how much of Eldridge's biography has here been romanticized (there now seems to be little available evidence regarding her career), but the story nonetheless provides an important perspective on the lives of African-American women prior to the Civil War. Also of interest is the group of women described as helping to rescue Eldridge by way of this literary endeavor, undertaken through the auspices of Green, a Rhode Island-born author, reformer, and spiritualist who went on to publish several abolitionist works. The books are in very good condition; spines worn; leather moderately rubbed; a few instances of light staining to several pages. An attractive and uncommon pair.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2006
    12th-13th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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