1827 · New York City
Second edition of this variant of The Young Lady's Toilet, inspired by the original handmade books by Hannah and Mary Murray of New York, two young ladies who cut out pictures from periodicals and pasted them onto blank leaves, adding their own captions.
Each lithographed vessel for a beauty product => displays a witty moral maxim behind a moveable flap (a concept that the Murrays may have adapted from the original 1821 London edition of The Toilet), providing the book's manipulator with emblematic instruction on true beauty, so that "A Wash to Smooth Wrinkles" is revealed as Contentment; "A Universal Beautifier" as Good Humor; "A Solution to Prevent Eruptions" as Moderation; and "An Elastic Girdle" as Benevolence — well, that's a stretch!
Each virtue is further described by rhyming couplet or two at the bottom of the page.
Provenance: Faint pencil presentation inscription on front free endpaper, "Lizzie D. Karl from => M. Murray." Later in the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel ("AHA") at rear.
Shaw & Shoemaker 29838 (2nd ed.); Rosenbach, Early American Children's Books, 683 (n.d., ca. 1825). Publisher's bright green paper–covered boards printed in black, speckled edges. Joints (outside) cracking and paper flaking, board extremities rubbed, and small dark stains on rear board; scattered foxing as is common, sometimes heavy. => Intact with all parts, this is an impressive example of a ladies' emblem book. (Inventory #: 38484)