A wonderful original autograph book from prominent Philadelphia Presbyterian, Miss Elizabeth Bonnell [nee Wire]. She married Presbyterian divine, Rev. William Wilson Bonnell and her sister was the first wife of Presbyterian missionary to India, William Ramsey [1803-1858]. Her sister perished on the mission field and was buried in India. Death and mourning are a recurring theme throughout the volume. Elizabeth was close to Ramsey and assisted in the production of Ramsey’s journal and biography.
Notable original contents include the below; these do not include non-authorial holographs by other noted persons, etc.
1. Dedication page with original 17-line composition, apparently unpublished. Signed MC and dated Philadelphia, April 1838. This would be Martha Crafts. Hulme [later Canfield]
2. A superb sheet, worth the price of the entire volume, entirely in the hand of missionary, William Ramsey, entitled, “For my Sister Elizabeth.” As above, Elizabeth’s sister had been married to William and perished in India.
It then has two passages of Scripture, and this moving note, “The following is a specimen of the language of the Mahretta people for whom our beloved Mary laboured, and among whom she “fell on sleep.” He makes reference of course to Elizabeth’s sister and his wife.
It then contains readings of various texts of Scripture and religious sayings in five different languages. Chipped at extremities, but complete. Compare with the similar example here: William Ramsey (1803-1858) — Log College Press
3. A 3.5pp original autograph poem by William James Allinson [1810-1874], entitled Undying Friendship. An Irregular Ode. Allinson was a notable Quaker, editor of The Friends’ Review, and was friends with John Greenleaf Whitter. His son was named after him and inspired Whittier’s poem My Namesake. He wrote several other works as well, including Memorials of the Life and Character of John Gummere. There are several Gummere family inscriptions in the present item as well. The poem was unpublished until Allinson’s volume of poems was finally published the year before his death. Notably, it contains substantial variations from the present, much earlier version. Signed by Allinson.
Allinson was also a noted abolitionist, corresponding with Whittier on the subject, and speaking and writing on the subject as well.
4. Wonderful original 9 stanza unpublished poem entitled, “An Inquiry” by Elizebeth’s soon-to-be husband. Rev. W. W. Bonnell [1809-1849]. Bonnell pastored in both the Presbyterian Church and the German Reformed churches of Pennsylvania. He was author of History of the German Reformed Church, etc.
5. A wonderful tipped in full sheet manuscript The Language of Flowers by Dr. Nicholas Bittinger Lane [b.1802-1853] of Chambersburg, PA. Dated Monday Night, 8 O’Clock, 20th October, 1845, a well-published Doctor of the time and prominent Christian. There is also a letter from Lane to Elizabeth reflecting on their long life, his work as her physician, walking with her through the death of her son, Henry, etc.
6. Superb 7 stanza unpublished hymn on Mark 1.35 by Rev. Dr. D. S. Miller, long time minister at Frankfort, Philadelphia, PA. He was a correspondent of Abraham Lincoln, abolitionist, and his letters to Lincoln on the value of prayer and calling for the setting aside of National Days of Prayer during the Civil War are held by the Library of Congress.
This particular hymn is quite connected to prayer, based on the passage, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before the day, he went out and departed into a solitary place and there prayed.”
7. A partially published manuscript, with sections from this early version revised or removed, Lines Written for Mrs. E. B. Bonnell. To a Minister’s Wife by Rev. C. C. Van Arsdale. He was correspondent with L. H. Sigourney, author, and prominent minster in the German and Dutch Reformed churches.
It was published in The American Literary Magazine for 1847, but with only five stanzas and with some revisions, notated as having been written that year.
8. A moving 5 stanza authorial holograph poem or hymn entitled The Mission at the Grave of His Wife. It is signed M. C. Hulme and almost certainly references William Ramsey and the death of his wife in India, being dated to 1836 [here 1839], shortly after her death. M. C. Hulme was later M[artha] C. Canfield [1819-1855], whose poems were published posthumously in 1858. It was composed by her in 1836 and published in The Episcopal Recorder for that year.
She married Eli Cawley Cranfield who graduated Alexandria Theological Seminary and was for 17 years minister at Christ Church in New York City, then became a sort of “fix it” minister for struggling churches.
9. A wonderful two full page manuscript letter, then poem in the hand of noted Quaker and abolitionist, Casper Morris. It is also accompanied by an original watercolor by Morris of Wales that is exceptionally well executed. We have located no other examples by his hand; it’s a shame. It is first rate.
Casper wrote early biographies of noted abolitionist Margaret Mercer, and one of William Wilberforce to popularize his story for American audiences. There is also a famous story about Morris where he was put in “Sabbath Chains” in Philadelphia for violating the Lord’s Day [it was a Presbyterian town; Quakers did not follow the regulation in the same way]. He broke himself out and was hauled to court, where he declaimed the religious imposition so strongly he was also fined for disrespecting the court.
10. A non-authorial holograph of To the Supreme Being by Michelangelo signed by E. G. Martin [notated as “A Mute”]
11. An unpublished poem on Friendship to Mrs. E. B. Bonnell, dated Philadelphia, April 1st, 1857 and signed V. L Collin.
12. An unpublished 2.5pp poem again by Dr. D. S. Miller on Angels, from Hebrews I.14. Datelined to Frankford, Philadlephia. November, 1836.
13. Lengthy poem by Philadelphia poetess, Ellen S. Rand, entitled Cousin Mary. Again, it is likely this was written upon the death of Ramsey’s wife, or at least holographically recorded here by Rand for Elizabeth on that account. The work was later published, 1847.
14. Wonderful full-page inscription by Rev. John S. Macintosh, Philadelphia. He was later professor at San Francisco Theological Seminary, pastored in both Ireland and America, etc., He was considered one of the great preachers of the era and his sermons published in various publications. See his biography here: History of the San Francisco Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. .. (squarespace.com) and a scan of one of his books here: The White Sunlight of Potent Words (squarespace.com)
15. A six stanza poem entitled My Love! By Jennie M. W. Ramsey, written while in Geneva. She died in 1862 and was relative of the missionary William Ramsey.
16. Full page inscription by Elias Root Beadle [1812-1876], prominent Presbyterian divine, missionary to New Orleans, etc. See here: Elias Root Beadle (1812-1876) — Log College Press
Plus non-authorial holographs of Spencer by M. M. Gummere [later Mrs. Joel Parker, Governor of New Jersey during the Civil War], another non-authorial holograph by E. D. Gummere, another by N. B. Lane, and some wonderful little colored lithographs, and a few original floral watercolors reflecting significant skill.
Disbound, though apparently complete.