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A Pageant of Great Women.

[London] : 1910 Stock Code: 128582
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First edition, first impression, of Hamilton's play celebrating powerful women throughout history, including Joan of Arc, Sappho, and Boudica. The pageant was first performed at the Scala Theatre in London on 10 November 1909 and was quickly staged all over Britain. It was first directed by the actress, producer, and daughter of Ellen Terry, Edith Craig (1869-1947), and featured Terry in a number of roles. Terry described the pageant in Votes for Women, 19 November 1909, as "the finest practical piece of political propaganda" (Votes for Women, p. 117). Cicely Hamilton (1872-1952), was a co-founder of the Women Writers' Suffrage League, and anonymously wrote the words for the WSPU anthem, "The March of the Women", composed by Ethel Smyth. In 1909 Hamilton was invited by Craig to write the Pageant following the success of Hamilton's How the Vote was Won, which was first performed in April 1909, also directed by Craig. This work features portraits of the actresses in their roles, including a portrait of Edith Craig as Rosa Bonheur and Cicely Hamilton as Christian Davies. The majority of the portraits were taken by Marie Leon, a successful photographer who was regularly used by prominent women's activist (her portrait of Bessie Parkées is now held at the National Portrait Gallery). This fragile production is fairly well-represented institutionally, but distinctly uncommon commercially. This copy has the ownership inscription of "Aimée Rose" on the half title. "Aimée Rose" is believed to be Aimée Lowther, an actress, playwright, active suffragette, and close friend of both Ellen Terry and Oscar Wilde.

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Octavo. Original grey paper boards, titles to spine and front cover in red and black, publisher's device to rear cover in red, edges untrimmed, partially unopened.


Photographic frontispiece portrait and 14 photographic plates.


Spine browned as usual, slight wear to edges, faint soiling to boards, split to front cover and spine joint, still holding, faint offsetting to endpapers, light foxing throughout, a very good copy.


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