The Old Brewery, and the New Mission House at the Five Points. Ladies of the Mission.

The Old Brewery, and the New Mission House at the Five Points.

New York: Stringer & Townsend, 1854. First edition. 12mo, original gilt pictorial blind-stamped lilac cloth, gilt lettering, 304 pages. Frontispiece view of the new mission building. Spine and board edges sunned and faded; a trifle worn, some light foxing; a very good copy. Item #19621

Women’s mission work in the Five Points neighborhood of Manhattan, with some background on the brutal conditions of life there for the poor. The Old Brewery of the title had long been a notorious tenement and headquarters for gangs (cf. Scorsese), and the Methodist mission erected a new building on the site in 1850 and began their work in the area to provide jobs, schooling and medical care in addition to their preaching. This account, from several women who give only their initials, includes the expected tales of conversion but also provides a glimpse into the lives of urban poor blacks and Irish immigrants, including a disapproving account of an Irish wake: “I succeeded at last, much to my joy, in breaking up this strange wild scene of frantic wo[!].” With a preliminary leaf of ads of “A Book for Every Protestant,” as well as a tipped-in publisher’s leaf advertising the publication of Margaret; or, Prejudice at Home and its Victims, “A New Work equal to ‘The Wide, wide World.’ “ Sabin 57115; Hamilton 1047.

Price: $75.00

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