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New acquisitions: British social history

One recent acquisition is a collected set of Harriet Martineau’s Illustrations of Political Economy, along with two continuations of the series: Poor Laws and Paupers Illustrated and Illustrations of Taxation. These tales, first issued from 1832-34, brought Martineau literary celebrity. The didactic stories, based on the theories of T.R. Malthus and James Mill, were intended to teach the working classes to properly interpret economic laws, though they a betray middle-class ideology.

A second Martineau-related acquisition is Organization of Nursing (1865). This book, which describes the founding and operation of the Liverpool Nurses’ Training School, once belonged to Martineau. The school was founded on principles established by Florence Nightingale, who was a personal friend of Martineau’s. Nightingale wrote an introduction describing her ideas about the nursing profession; the book was also dedicated to her.

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