The Whole Duty of Woman: comprised of the following sections..../ by a Lady {William Kendrick}, 1821


This 1821 edition of an 1751 book gives instruction in the desired comportment and behavior of a young lady. This version is 75 pages and divided into 24 sections, including an Introduction. It was published by William Borradile of New York. Hoyt & Bolmore were the printers.

The green cover features a tan rectangle with the title of the book. The topics covered include personality traits such as curiousity, vanity and modesty. Guidance is also provided as to how to conduct oneself with regards to marriage and widowhood, topics that were left out of the original edition of this book but included in supplemental books. The narrator's voice often adopts a poetic, blank verse form.

The introduction contains an appeal to "daughters of Britain" to heed the advice of its author or risk a life of scorn and misery. The premise that a reformed woman is writing the book to persuade other women to be virtuous is ironic since the original author was not the anonymous "a Lady" but actually William Kenrick (c 1725-1779), a man of dubious character who was a novelist and playwrite. The original 1753 version was published by Robert Dodsley of London and the title was taken from a 1695 volume by Lady Mary Cressy. Earlier American editions were printed in Boston in 1793 by Samuel Hall and 1798 in Philadeliphia by J Ormrod but due to its popularityover 20 editions were published.

Date Made: 1821

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New York, New York City

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Education


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Rosetta Marantz Cohen

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2018.0189.01Accession Number: 2018.0189Catalog Number: 2018.0189.01

Object Name: book

Physical Description: paper (overall material)ink (overall material)wood (overall material)Measurements: overall: 6 in x 4 in x 1/4 in; 15.24 cm x 10.16 cm x .635 cm


Record Id: nmah_1967852

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