Book of the Week: Cairnes: Political Essays – Millicent Fawcett’s copy

Cairnes, Political Essays, Macmillan, 1873.

Presentation copy to Millicent Fawcett

 The Irish economist John Cairnes had long been a friend of Henry Fawcett, both part of the Blackheath circle centring on John Stuart Mill. When Millicent Fawcett (aged 23) published her ‘Political Economy for Beginners’ in 1870 Cairnes took it seriously, reviewed it and wrote to her ‘I have just finished my study of your useful little book and send you by this post my notes upon it. You will find I have some serious controversies with you.’ Three years later, when he published ‘Political Essays’ , he sent Millicent a copy – inscribing it ‘MG Fawcett from the author’.

Millicent Fawcett’s bookplate

A ‘From the Author’ slip has survived the handling of the last 140 years – and Millicent Fawcett has added her delightful bookplate to the front pastedown. However, an inquisitive inspection reveals that not all the pages are cut.

Latterly the book was in the library of O.R. McGregor (Professor Lord McGregor of Durris) author of ‘Divorce in England’ which had, for its time, 1957, an excellent bibliography – revealing the author’s wide interest in ‘women’s history’. On the spine the cloth binding is chipped – missing in parts – would benefit from rebacking. Otherwise a good copy – and a very interesting association copy £150. 

To buy contact e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk

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