Angelica Singleton Van Buren,

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Island 4

By the author of 'Things by Their Right Names,' 'Plain Sense,' &c.
Rhoda: A Novel. 
London: Henry Colburn, 1816.
Each volume signed "Angelica Van Buren 46 East 21st Str."

Angelica Singleton was typical of her period in her liking for fiction, especially by women writers. Though women could make a living as authors, it was still not considered an entirely respectable female occupation, and women's writings were often published anonymously, as here. This work also provides a prime example of the moral values such novels had to illustrate to be considered acceptable women's reading. It tells the moral tale of an orphan girl who learns "that vanity is not a venial frailty, nor self-confidence and love of distinction safe counselors, -- that nothing but a preferable love for the husband can sanctify the marriage bond, -- and that chastity alone will not make a good wife." Published by Henry Colburn, who would become one of the most prolific fiction publishers in London, this novel is in the fashionable "three-decker" format, and labels indicate it was an ex-library copy from one of the equally fashionable "circulating libraries."

Memoires du Duc de Sully
Paris: Chez Etienne Ledoux, 1827.
Signed "Angelica Singleton Van Buren 46 East 21st Str. New York."

Memoires du Cardinal de Retz, de Guy-Joli et de la duchesse de Nemours
Paris: Chez Ledoux & Fevre, 1817.
Signed "Angelica Singleton Van Buren 46 East 21st Str. New York."

These two works reflect Angelica's interest in European culture and history as well as her fashionable education and ability to read substantial works in French. The first volume is from the six-volume autobiography of the chief advisor to Henri IV (1559-1641). The second is from a six-volume text that prints the lives of three French notables during the time of Louis XIV. The form of the inscriptions indicates that, although the books were published much earlier, they were in Angelica's later home, in New York.

Sir Henry Taylor, 1800-1876
Notes from Life in Six Essays
London: John Murray, 1847.
Signed "Angelica Singleton Van Buren 46 East 21st Str. New York."

Taylor, an early post-Romantic poet once well-known for his verse-drama Philip Van Artevelde, uses "maxims and reflections" to present "the immediate results of an attentive observation of life." His six essays are on money, humility and independence, choice in marriage, wisdom, children, and "the life poetic."


Angelica Singleton Van Buren
Photograph in later life
(Library of Congress)

Edward J. Trelawny, 1792-1881
Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron
Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1859.
Signed "Angelica S. Van Buren 46 E. 21st Str."

Angelica's early literary education had focused on pre-Romantic poetry, but her tastes widened. Part memory and part exaggeration and invention, this book made its author a celebrity figure. Trelawny was the last living link to the larger-than-life second generation English Romantic poets. His firsthand account, based partly on "notes taken and letters written at the time the events occurred, and partly from memory," narrates his experiences in Europe with Shelley and Byron and their circle in 1822-1823. It was Trelawny who had cremated Shelley's body on the beach at Viareggio and who had taken the poet's heart from the flames. The plain brown cloth binding, with gold stamping, is characteristic of the prominent Boston-based literary publishing firm, Ticknor and Fields.

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