New York: J.C. Derby, 1855.
First Edition. Hardcover. Good. 359 pp, in publishers's blind-stamped cloth. Spine faded and chipped at head and foot, corners rubbed through. Binding tight, text clean. Inscribed on the front free endpaper "Miss Esther Church with the kind regard of the Author, H.W. Beecher." Esther Church (later Esther Church Conant) appears briefly in the Beecher Family Papers held at Yale, so was presumably an acquaintance. Beecher (1813-1877) was an outspoken preacher and social reformer and also a talented writer. This book contains a selection of his weekly columns in The New York Independent, a widely read Congregational newspaper, in which he "promoted his genial vision of a new, Romantic, Christianity; focused on God’s love for humankind; and stressed to an urban audience the regenerative power of Nature" (ANB). The essays collected here deal primarily with rural lif and the natural world, though there is also a short section titled "Letters from Europe" that discusses art in the great museums of England and France.