17 June 2008
BABBAGE, Charles. On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures. London: Charles Knight, 1832.
8o (164 x 100 mm). Engraved vignette title-page by J. Bate (spotted). (A1-A2 spotted, p. 11 with small marginal tear.) Original half calf, gilt (corners scuffed, extremities rubbed). Provenance: Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), preacher, reformer and brother of novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe (signature, carte de visite laid in); illegible inscription dated 9 November 1887; Lyman Shaw (library stamp); W.L. Ames (inscription dated 1923).
FIRST EDITION, IMPORTANT ASSOCIATION COPY, FROM THE LIBRARY OF HENRY WARD BEECHER, inscribed by him on the front paste-down: "H.W. Beecher, 1859" and with his carte de visite laid down on the front free endpaper. One of America's most influential preachers Beecher "recognised the crisis of urban culture in the late nineteenth century with its diversity, isolation, anonymity, and egalitarianism" (Bender). He addressed subjects as wide-ranging as God's love, the regenerative power of Nature, the abolition of slavery, temperance, women's rights and the expansion of education, and was concerned with the effects of progressive industrialization of the sort discussed by Babbage in Machinery and Manufactures. "Beecher articulated the hopes and fears of millions of middle-class Americans who sought moral stability in the dramatic social turmoils that convulsed American society in the middle decades of the 19th-century" (DNB). Bender The Erosion of Public Culture, pp 90-91; Norman 93.
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