Saturday, May 14, 2016

Book Shelf: Letters from Alabama on various subjects

My paternal fourth great grandfather Henry Avery's name appears on a "List of Letters, 9 Jan 1819, remaining in Huntsville Post Office" so my eye was caught by Donna R. Causey of Alabama Pioneers recent reference to Anne Royall's description of "some settlers of Huntsville & Madison County, Alabama," in her 1830 book Letters from Alabama.

[Book digitized by Google from the library of New York Public Library and uploaded to the Internet Archive by user tpb.]

I've already posted about Phillip Henry Gosse's eyewitness account of life in Alabama in 1838 in his book with the same name and now I'm looking forward to reading what Mrs. Royall had to say about the state.

[Alabama. Drawn and Published by F. Lucas Jr. J. Cone, Sc. (1822). Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.]

[Detail of above 1822 map of Alabama, showing location of Huntsville.]

Here's a description of her I found at the Library of Congress's website:
"Early in the 19th century the newspaper Paul Pry dedicated itself to exposing political corruption and religious fraud. It was edited by the audacious Anne Newport Royall at a time when few women were newspaper editors and even fewer were willing to take on the establishment. 
The Library's collection of the works of Royall include nine volumes of travel books, one novel and two newspapers that together span more than 30 years -- from Presidents Monroe to Pierce. Royall's travels took her from Louisiana to Maine, and her observations of the people and places she encountered provide a rich glimpse into antebellum America. As the self-appointed guardian of democracy, Royall exposed graft and corruption wherever she went. Her boldness and tenacity were remarkable in an era when society was obsessed with the trappings of gentility."

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

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