Jul 15, 2021 - Sale 2576

Sale 2576 - Lot 35

Price Realized: $ 2,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,500 - $ 3,500
Moïse, Penina (1797-1880)
Fancy's Sketch Book.

Charleston, South Carolina: Published & Printed by J.S. Burges, 1833.

First edition, 12mo, title page in facsimile; family association copy, with early Moïse family ownership inscriptions on dedication leaf and rear endpapers, including C.F. Moïse, likely Cecelia Frances Moïse (1855-1947), the author's great-niece, [the granddaughter of the poet's younger brother Abraham (1799-1869), through his son Charles Henry Moise (1830-1896)]; and Cecelia's niece, Dorita Moïse Kohn (1900-1992); bound in full contemporary gilt tree calf, rebacked, with original spine laid down; aeg, contemporary marbled endleaves; some foxing, a few early manuscript notes; 6 x 4 in.

Moïse's is the first book of poetry by an American Jewish author, and the first book of any kind by an American Jewish woman. Some poems take on historical or patriotic themes, such as "Lines on the Loss of the Ship Boston," "To Persecuted Foreigners," and "To the Memory of Mary, the Mother of Washington." She also includes "On the Death of My Preceptor, Isaac Harby, Esq.," a tribute to the Reform Judaism pioneer from Charleston who died in 1828.

Harby and Abraham Moïse, the poet's brother, worked closely together in the Reform movement. Penina Moïse wrote more than 200 hymns for the Union Hymnal (1842), the first Reform liturgy used in the U.S. "[Moïse's hymns] reflect the aspirations of a generation of Jews who were born in the United States after the American Revolution and were inspired to revitalize their faith in the spirit of the Second Great Awakening."

Although Moïse never married, the family provenance is directly through her brother Abraham, and his granddaughter Cecelia undoubtedly knew her great-aunt Penina, as part of this tightly knit South Carolina family. (cf. Max Stern "Penina Moïse: American Poet and Hymnwriter." The Hymn; Boston vol. 67, Iss. 3 (Summer 2016): pp. 13-17; [and] Shira Wolosky. "The First Reform Liturgy: Penina Moise's Hymns and the Discourses of American Identity." Studies in American Jewish Literature (1981-), vol. 33, no. 1, 2014, pp. 130–146. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.5325/studamerjewilite.33.1.0130.)

Singerman 0556; rare at auction.