Angelica Singleton Van Buren,
1817-1877

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Island 1
 

Engraving of Angelica Singleton
From Munsey's Magazine 38 (March 1907).


The Keepsake for MDCCCXXX
Ed. F. M. Reynolds
London: Hurst, Chance & Co., 1830.
Inscribed "To Angelica from a Friend."

Illustrated literary annuals and gift books, designed to be given away rather than read, were highly popular during the 1820's and 1830's, especially as gifts to and between young women aspiring to taste and sophistication. This volume of The Keepsake, one of the best-known British literary annuals, dates from Angelica's schooldays in Philadelphia and includes works by popular authors and poets of the time such as Sir Walter Scott, Mary Shelley, Lady Caroline Lamb, Coleridge, and Byron.


The Atlantic Souvenir for 1830
Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, & Carey, 1830.
Inscribed "From Marion to her sister Angelica."

The Atlantic Souvenir, published from 1826 to 1832, was one of the first literary annuals produced in in the United States. As this example shows, such books often included elaborate engraved nameplates for the gift inscription. This volume includes engravings, short stories, and poems, generally unsigned and in the moral, patriotic, and sentimental genres.


Angelica Singleton's Autograph Album

This manuscript volume is from 1831, one of Angelica's final years at Madame Grelaud's Seminary in Philadelphia. It includes inscriptions, poems, and sketches in various hands, both signed and unsigned, from school friends and teachers. The largest section commemorates Angelica's role as "Queen of May" in 1831; it includes "Address spoken by Miss A. L. Pearson to the Queen of May Miss Sarah Angelica Singleton, May 1 '31" and Angelica's"Reply," written by Edward Clayson, English master at Madame Grelaud's. These poems feature humorous descriptions of the students, by name, and satiric thoughts on love and marriage. The "Reply" asserts that "Queen Angelique / Is not so weak / As some folks please to think," and that "Men don't wed girls / For eyes or curls / But court them for their Cash." The title page, also hand-written, reads "Autograph book for 1831", and is signed "Angelica Singleton"; the decorative leather binding is stamped in gold, with "ALBUM" on the spine, and the pastel pages are gilt-edged.


John Aikin, 1747-1822, ed.
Select Works of the British Poets
Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle, 1831.
Signed "Angelique Singleton 1834."

Nineteenth-century anthologies, like their modern successors, were intended to introduce readers to the standard works of literature. This volume includes the "biographical and critical prefaces" still a mainstay of literary textbooks and contains major poetical works by Jonson, Milton (including all ofParadise Lost), Pope, Swift, Gray, and others. The editor, though a physician, was better known as an editor of London periodicals and as the younger brother of the poet and children's author Anna Laetitia Barbauld. The publisher, Thomas Wardle, was the principal importer of English books into the U.S. in the early nineteenth century. Pencil markings can be seen occasionally throughout the volume. Angelica's inscription here is the only occurrence of this name-form in the collection outside the autograph book.


George Combe, 1788-1858
A System of Phrenology
Boston: Marsh Capen & Lyon, 1835.
Inscribed "Angelica Singleton from R. M. Deveaux 1835."

A gift from Angelica's brother-in-law, this is a work on the "science" of phrenology, popular in the mid-1800s, by its leading British proponent. Combe claimed that various physical, emotional, and mental traits could be diagnosed by examining the shape of a patient's head. This volume includes diagrams of the various "intellectual" and "affective" areas of the head. In addition to the inscription, the flyleaf is signed "A. S. Van Buren."

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