Since February, Evelyn Walker, Rare Book Cataloger, has been reviewing and updating our rare book catalog records. Evelyn brought some interesting items to our attention. The library has two copies of the Hartford, 1799 edition of The Life and Character of Miss Susanna Anthony, who died in Newport ... in the sixty-fifth year of her age. Susanna was born in Newport, RI and was the youngest daughter of a goldsmith. Although raised as a Quaker she converted to Congregationalism during the Great Awakening in 1741. Susanna's diary chronicles a complicated spiritual existence. She penned over a thousand pages of diary entries which were excerpted by Rev. Samuel Hopkins for this book. The most notable highlight excerpted by Hopkins was the account of her 1741 conversion.
Each of the library's copies has noteworthy provenance: Copy 1 was owned by the Cheshire Theological Institute of Keene, NH. This institution was formed in 1830 around the 700 volumes owned by Rev. Z. S. Barstow. It was a corporation in which many of Keene's prominent men held shares, designed to furnish the clergymen of the county with literature that might aid them in their work. It existed for about twenty years. Copy 2 was also owned by a small library, the United Social Library of Cornish, NH. During the 1830s and into the mid-nineteenth century, "a circulating library for adults called the 'Cornish Social Library,' was maintained in town, much to the pleasure and edification of the people. The records of this library have not been found, and whatever of such there was, is doubtless lost." (History of the town of Cornish, New Hampshire, with genealogical record, 1763-1910 by William H. Child, p. 240-41)
If you know of any additional information about either of these two libraries, we would love to hear about it.
A copy of the Portland, 1810 second edition of The Life and Character of Miss Susanna Anthony is available through Google Books.