Boston: Wells & Lilly, 1823.
First Edition. xx, 295pp. Uncut. 8vo (9-1/2 x 5-3/4 inches). Original paper backed boards, covers detached, original paper printed label on spine. Provenance: R. Stesan (signature dated 1824); Dorchester Antiquarian and Historical Society (bookplates) BAL 145645; American imprints 13411; Sabin 51027. Item #302884
"Born in to a wealthy family in Boston, Massachusetts, she received an extensive education, which is reflected in her neo-classical verse. Resisting her family's Loyalist proclivities during the American Revolution, she devoted herself to the Patriot cause. She remained an activist throughout her life, advocating the repeal of the state's restrictive theatre laws, arguing for abolition, espousing nationalistic political and literary perspectives, and supporting the emergence of young North American writers. Her poetry .... as well as her collection of essays, sketches and poetry My Mind and its Thoughts (1823), reflect these ideals..." (Buck, The Bloomsbury Guide to Women's Literature). Notably, the present work includes her abolitionist poem African Chief.
Morton's My Mind, her last published work, was the first to bear her name, with most of her poetry and prose appearing in the 1790s under her initials or her pseudonym Philenia, A Lady of Boston. As Philenia, Robert Treat Paine dubbed her "The American Sappho." Though some of her work glorified the new nation and its leaders, as well as ideals of freedom and patriotism, much revolved around the themes of sorrow and betrayal. Many have ascribed the latter to the much publicized affair between her sister and her husband, an illegitimate child and her sister's subsequent suicide in 1789.
Interestingly, the list of subscribers in the rear divides the subscribers by gender, with 125 "Gentlemen" ordering 159 copies, and 34 "Ladies" ordering 46 copies.
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