Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Women's History Month Titles: Plantation life in eastern North Carolina

Cover of Plantation Sketches by Margaret Devereux.jpg

Margaret Mordecai Devereux (1824-1910) was a well-educated and well-married North Carolina belle from Raleigh who, late in life, decided to leave her grandchildren her memories, “to rescue from oblivion a few of the habits, thoughts, and feelings of the people who made out South what it was...these already faint reflections from “the light of other days.”

As a historical period piece, Devereux’s Plantation Sketches is a fascinating, matter-of-fact memoir of pre- and post-Civil War life on the half-dozen Bertie County, North Carolina-area plantations the Devereux family acquired and inherited, including well over a thousand slaves,

Margaret Devereux, Plantation Sketches (Cambridge, MA: The Riverside Press, privately printed, 1906). 168 pp, green boards with gilt titling. Duodecimo. Deaccessioned from the Davidson College Library after having been checked out twice in 1955, once in 1971 and once in 1988.

The rear hinge is slightly separated, there is a small tear on p.4, and the book bears spine endpaper stamps of the college. The checkout record and library card are on the rear end pages. Though library copies are generally dismissed by collectors, this is a good reading copy and a nearly-lost, rare first-person reminiscence of an important and traumatic period in North Carolina’s- and the nation’s life. HBB price: $15 obo.


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