Chicago: C.F. Beezley & Co., 1902. Hardcover. Sold only by subscription, Woman’s Favorite Cook Book was promoted as “three books in one volume” with “over three thousand recipes and suggestions for the household,” plus more than 50 original drawings, 26 full-page halftones, and 8 lithographic plates. This sample book includes sample portions of the complete volume and runs 140 pages, including samples of recipes, illustrations, and the index, as well as four leaves of lined paper bound in the rear following a promotional sheet with an agreement that the undersigned agree to accept and pay $2 for a copy of the book. The names of four women are written in pencil on the first lined page.
“These specimen books were used by the itinerant agents of subscription publishers to entice customers to agree to purchase a copy of a work in advance of delivery. This form of marketing was common in America during the years just before and after the Civil War” (American Antiquarian Society). Research suggests that many of these book agents were women. As Natalie Marine-Street concluded in her dissertation “Agents Wanted: Sales, Gender, and the Making of Consumer Markets in America, 1830-1930” (2016), subscription selling in the gender-segmented and highly unequal nineteenth-century labor market “provided a rare venue that valued the labor of men and women equally. It kindled hopes for economic independence and offered a tool for salvaging a productive home-based family economy.”
Octavo. Original cloth binding, with dark green and red stamping, including a mockup of the spine on the rear panel. Internally crisp and clean. Some general soiling and wear, more so at the corners and tips. Very good. Item #74401