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STRICKLAND, Agnes [& Elizabeth].

Lives of the Bachelor Kings of England.

London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co, 1861 Stock Code: 140279
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First edition, presentation copy from the authors' sister, inscribed in ink on the title page, "To dear Charlotte Foster in remembrance of her friends Agnes and Elizabeth Strickland with Jane Margaret Strickland's love"; the divisional title "Edward the Fifth" is annotated in the same hand, "By Elizabeth Strickland", referring to the work's joint authorship.

By the early 1830s Agnes (1796-1874) and Elizabeth Strickland (1794-1875), each in their own right enjoying successful literary careers, chose to move towards "a new field of authorship, popular history 'Facts not opinions' was the motto adopted by the sisters, and their manuscript research was both pioneering and intensive" (ODNB). They lobbied politicians to secure entry into the State Paper Office, which did not normally admit women, making them the first women to gain access. Their best-known work is the monumental twelve-volume Lives of the Queens of England (1840-48), published by Henry Colburn. Like the sisters' numerous other historical biographies, including the present title, it was published under Agnes's name only, by joint agreement, to suit Elizabeth's reclusive nature. "They were undoubtedly key figures in the development of writing on women's history, playing a role in creating a tradition of female worthies which can be seen as the first step towards fuller scholarly investigation" (ibid.).

Jane Margaret Strickland (1800-1888), who has inscribed the present copy, primarily wrote children's stories. Her chief work, the schoolbook Rome, Republican and Regal: a Family History of Rome, was edited by Agnes and published in two volumes in 1854. The proceeds from this made Jane financially independent and allowed her to buy her own cottage. She published a biography of Agnes, whom she admired greatly, in 1887. A year later Jane died at Park Lane Cottage in Southwold.

The recipient Charlotte Foster is likely a relation of Georgina Gertrude Foster (née Cubitt; 1850-1922), who lived in the Stricklands' childhood home in Southwold and whose daughter Georgiana Fanny Julia Foster (1891-1975) inherited a large collection of Strickland material.

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Octavo. Original purple diaper-grain cloth, spine and front cover lettered and stamped in gilt, decoratively blindstamped, brown endpapers.


2 full-page engraved portraits with tissue guards, numerous engraved tailpieces, as called for; without the frontispiece portrait of William Rufus and facing engraved title page.


2 pp. publisher's advertisements at rear. Bookbinder's ticket ("Burn., 37 & 38 Kirby St") to rear pastedown. Spine sunned, ends and corners bruised, gently rubbed, contents generally clean with some light foxing. A very good copy.


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