The Law of Population. Its Consequences and its Bearing on Human Conduct and Morals . . . Third Ten Thousand. Author’s American Edition from the 35th Thousand, English Edition.

Bound Brook, N. J. Asa K. Butts, 1886. A later American printing of this landmark work on contraception, but with an interesting imprint. (See below.). 8vo, original printed wrappers, 47, [1] pages. Frontis portrait of Besant. Frontis and wrappers a trifle foxed and soiled and a little stained; a very good copy. Item #19361

Besant had revolutionized the publication of contraceptive information in England after her republication of Knowlton’s Fruits of Philosophy in defiance of court order; after her acquittal, finding the market clear for an updated work, she published this title—which soon replaced Knowlton as a standard practical work on the subject. Besant’s work was part of a contemporary resurgence in popular self-help literature on the subject despite the threat posed by Comstock. The publisher and reformer Asa Butts, who first published the American edition under his New York imprint in 1878, was for a time a prominent figure in Liberal and Positivist circles—though he is characterized by Brodie in her Contraception and Abortion in Nineteenth-Century America as an “idealistic n’er-do-well” (“Butts . . . was rated by credit reporters in the early 1870s as ‘a visionary’ who should not be extended credit”). Butts had first come to publishing through an association with John P. Jewett (publisher of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) when they were both involved in the affairs of the Wakefield Earth Closet Company. The final page advertises publication from the kindred progressive health and sexuality publisher E. B. Foote’s Murray Hill Publishing. See Atwater 314 (cataloguing this edition), which draws largely on Himes’ Medical History of Contraception for his description of Besant’s work.

Price: $150.00