early book clubs

In the chapter NORTH AMERICA 1770-1816:

Women in Bess and Marianne’s circle ensured an adequate provision of the latest “good reads” by forming book clubs.  “You know how books travel in this country (much to the detriment of their covers), but it is an excellent idea,” Rosalie Calvert, a Belgian heiress married to a Maryland planter, explained to her brother on December 10, 1808.  “The expense of a complete library would be too great, so everyone purchases several new volumes each year, and they are loaned around and their merits discussed.”  There was one novel these Maryland women wanted to read:  “Have you read Corrine, by Madame Staël-Holstein, an extremely interesting new romance?” Rosalie asked, while Bess recommended it to her grandfather as “a wonderful book.”  One of the books Eliza Anderson passed around her Baltimore friends was A Vindication of the Rights of Women which continued to be widely read in America, though only brave women applauded its ideas in public.

Sisters of Fortune by Jehanne Wake

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