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Selections from Eliza Leslie

Eliza Leslie

Publication Year: 2011

Best known for her culinary and domestic guides and the award-winning short story “Mrs. Washington Potts,” Eliza Leslie deserves a much more prominent place in contemporary literary discussions of the nineteenth century. Her writing, known for its overtly moralistic and didactic tones—though often presented with wit and humor—also provides contemporary readers with a nuanced perspective for understanding the diversity among American women in Leslie’s time.

Leslie’s writing serves as a commentary on gender ideals and consumerism; presents complicated constructions of racial, national, and class-based identities; and critiques literary genres such as the Gothic romance and the love letter. These criticisms are exposed through the juxtaposition of her fiction and nonfiction instructive texts, which range from lessons on literary conduct to needlework; from recipes for American and French culinary dishes to travel sketches; from songs to educational games. Demonstrating the complexity of choices available to women at the time, this volume enables readers to see how Leslie’s rhetoric and audience awareness facilitated her ability to appeal to a broad swath of the nineteenth-century reading public.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press


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pp. c-ii

Title Page

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p. iii-iii

Copyright Page

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pp. iv-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Research projects often have serendipitous beginnings. Such was the origin of my research for this volume. For the seeds of this project, many thanks go to the staff of the Library Company of Philadelphia, who, more than a decade ago, introduced...

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Editor’s Introduction

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pp. xi-xxxvi

By her own account, Eliza Leslie (1787–1858) “had begun to copy poetry before [she] was twelve years old—and to scribble it before . . . ten.” Leslie was a seasoned writer and editor when she acknowledged these early “scribbl[ings]” as “foolish...

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A Note on the Text

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pp. xxxvii-xl

In an attempt to maintain nineteenth-century style, the selections included here are presented in a format as close as possible to that of the earliest located published versions of the works. (The bibliography and the chronological index of...


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The Travelling Tin-Man

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pp. 3-19

Micajah Warner was owner and cultivator of a small farm in one of the oldest, most fertile, and most beautiful counties of the State of Pennsylvania, not far from the Maryland line. Micajah was a plain Quaker,1 and a man of quiet and primitive...

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Mrs. Washington Potts

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pp. 20-64

Bromley Cheston, an officer in the United States navy, had just returned from a three years’ cruize in the Mediterranean. His ship came into New York; and after he had spent a week with a sister that was married in Boston, he could not resist his...

The Settlers

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pp. 65-80

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Eliza Farnham, or The Love Letters

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pp. 81-114

Eliza Farnham was sister to a physician who resided in the western part of the state of New York, at a large and flourishing town which bore the Grecian name of Peloponnesus. She had been placed, when a little girl, at a fashionable boarding-school,...

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Mr. and Mrs. Woodbridge: a Story of Domestic Life

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pp. 115-187

The morning subsequent to their arrival in Philadelphia, Harvey Woodbridge proposed to his bride (a New York beauty, to whom he had recently been united, after a very short acquaintance) that she should accompany him to look at the new house...

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Nothing Morally Wrong

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pp. 188-228

One warm afternoon in early summer, Mrs. Chesterwood was reclining on a sofa in her own apartment, and enjoying the delights of a loose gown and an entertaining book; believing herself secure from the interruption of visitors; as the heat of...


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Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry,Cakes, and Sweetmeats: An Excerpt

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pp. 231-237

Pick the currants very clean, and wash them, draining them through a cullender. Wipe them in a towel. Spread them out on a large dish, and set them near the fire or in the hot sun to dry, placing the dish in a slanting position. Having stoned...

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Domestic French Cookery: An Excerpt

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pp. 238-244

The design of the following little book is to furnish receipts for a select variety of French dishes, explained and described in such a manner as to make them intelligible to American cooks, and practicable with American utensils and American fuel....

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American Girl’s Book, or Occupation for Play Hours: An Excerpt from Part III,“Amusing Work—Pincushions”

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pp. 245-246

This pincushion is made of a piece of coarse linen, about half a quarter square, cut into two triangular or three-cornered halves, stuffed with bran and covered with scarlet cloth; which cover must be sewed neatly on the wrong side, and then turned. The...

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The Elephant

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pp. 247-251

The Elephant is the most sagacious and intelligent of all quadrupeds, and the nearest in its approach to human reason. Its enormous size and immense strength render it a formidable enemy when provoked, but even in a wild state it is not ferocious....

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The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners, or Miss Leslie’s Behavior Book: An Excerpt

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pp. 252-284

The practice of inclosing letters in envelopes is now universal; particularly as when the letter is single no additional postage is charged for the cover. The postage now is in almost every instance pre-paid, it being but three cents when paid by the...


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pp. 285-290

Chronology of Eliza Leslie’s Published Works

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pp. 291-294

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 295-320

E-ISBN-13: 9780803238091
E-ISBN-10: 0803238096
Print-ISBN-13: 9780803232952
Print-ISBN-10: 0803232950

Page Count: 368
Illustrations: 1 illustration
Publication Year: 2011