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The Bible Exercise commenced at the Spingler Institute
[New York], 1858. Handwritten college notebook comprised of 50 bound and 19 loosely inserted pages by Flora E. Smith, a student at one of the earliest women's colleges in the U.S. Quarter calf over lightly sunned purple cloth boards, blind embossed on front and rear cover; original paper label on front with author's name and date; hinges loose on front and back, with some loss to spine but text still holding tight; several pages excised at back causing small paper loss to rear pastedown. Internally clean, with ruled pages used for lists, charts, timelines, and note-taking associated with Smith's class on biblical and ecclesiastical history. A rare manuscript with excellent content from this early school founded to provide "a college for girls which should be the peer of Yale, Harvard, and Princeton" (Wellesley College Magazine). A near contemporary of the earliest seven sisters colleges, the Spingler Institute had "a reputation possessed by no other institution for women in America...[for using] the best methods and the best appointments...for the intellectual advancement" of young women (National Cyclopaedia of American Biography). Courses included science, mathematics, classical and modern languages, art, music, literature, history, and biblical and ecclesiastical studies. It was for this last program that Flora Smith composed her notebook. She proves to be a thoughtful and meticulous student, neatly dividing the Bible's books into categories ("The Pentateuch," "The Historical Books," "The Poetical Books," "The Prophetic Books," and "The New Testament") as well as writing bibliographic studies of versions of the Bible that consider their source languages and differences among their translations. By the middle of the notebook, Smith has developed charts and timelines, performing historiographical comparisons across the biblical texts to consider where events occur and to what extent they might overlap. In the later part of the book, she copies out and translates devotional poems such as "I Hold Still, from the German of Julius Sterm" and she appears to compose her own verse that borders on the romantic, as in the case of several inserted sonnets and a poem titled "Dream Land": "Shall I wake you in the morning? Strange and wonderful it seems/ That an earthly voice can reach you in the Land of Dreams..." Among the loosely inserted papers are handwritten test responses, written in ink in Smith's hand and corrected in pencil with the notations of source texts and verse numbers. With exceptional research contents across the fields of gender studies, the history of education, literature, biblical and religious history, and the history of women's education in America.
      [Bookseller: Whitmore Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2018-01-09           Check availability:      Biblio    

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