Cincinnati: Chase & Hall, 1875. First Edition. 8vo. 199 pp. Bound in original green publisher's cloth, title in gilt on spine with gilt floral ornament and triple ornamental roll in gilt at head and foot of spine. Corners slightly bumped, cloth rubbed away in bottom right corner of front cover and bottom of back cover, small tears on foot of spine, front joint slightly loose. Textblock slightly browned as in all copies with minor stains along edges. Bookplate of the Misses Grant Seminary Private Library of Chicago on front endleaf along with an inscription of the same on front flyleaf dated 1876. Good. Item #3371
¶ Interesting copy of this little-known account of Presbyterian missionary life in Texas and Mexico, written by a New England woman, likely the first Protestant woman missionary in Latin America. ¶ Melinda Rankin (1811-1888) opens her narrative with a move to Huntsville, TX in 1850 where she subsequently worked at the Huntsville Female Academy. Although laws in Mexico at the time forbade the introduction of any form of Protestantism into the country, Rankin traveled there in 1852 and established the first Protestant mission in Northern Mexico. She later traveled to and lived in Brownsville, TX where she developed a school for Mexican children, then to Monterrey, Mexico shortly after the end of the American Civil War. She established a second school in Monterrey, partnering with local congregations to evangelize the mestizo population in the vicinity. She later returned to the United States due to health problems. All in all, Rankin helped to establish fourteen different congregations, all of which were eventually incorporated into the Presbyterian Church. This narrative describes not just Rankin's missionary labors, but also many dramatic events in Texas and Mexico including revolutionary turmoil, the American Civil War, and her capture by the notorious military leader, rancher and outlaw, Juan Cortina.
¶ Our copy bears the contemporary bookplate of "Misses Grant's Private Library / 247 and 249 Dearborn Ave. Chicago," (now 839 N Dearborn Street, one block away from the Newberry Library). Misses Grant's School (later Seminary) for Young Ladies was a prestigious Presbyterian school, built with funds from the bequest from Walter L. Newberry; it was founded in 1871 by Misses Elizabeth Grant and her sister Barbara, originally of Stamford, NH. Barbara (1840-1888) was educated at Willard's Seminary in Troy, NY and Oberlin College. Before moving to Galena, IL, she taught at Vassar for three years. At some point Misses Grant's Seminary became the Grant Collegiate Institute of Chicago, the fate of which we have not been able to determine as of this writing. -- From the Dorothy Sloan Collection of Women in the West.
¶ Decker 4:480; Howes 64n; Ramos 3965; Sabin 67885. Howes erroneously states that this is a reprint of Rankin's Texas book published in 1850, but it is, in fact, a separate book.