Woolley.   Hannah     - The rare first edition.
THE COMPLEAT SERVANT-MAID.
OR, THE Young Maidens Tutor. Diersting how they may fit, and qualifie themselves for any of those Employments. Viz, Waiting Women, House-keeper, Chamber-maid, Cook-Maid, Under Cook-Maid, Nursery-maid, Dairy-Maid, House-Maid, Scullery-Maid. (a single line) Composed for the great benefit and advantage of all young Maidens. (a single line) LONDON, Printed for T. Passinger, at the tree Bibles on London Bridge, 1677.
FIRST EDITION. 150x92mm. 1fep with large bookplate of John George Mortlock and Licence information on Verso. Title page has a full double line border. [1] 7 pages The Epistle. [1] 1-167. 3 pages Advertisements. 2feps. 2 folding plates of writing examples, between pages 20-21. 1 plate repaired without loss. Pages 142-154 Bills of Fare. Lightly age-browned throughout. Original dark brown calf boards neatly re-tipped. Modern calf spine sympathetically bound in.
- Jilly Lehmann in her very informative book ‘The British Housewife’ has assembled from meagre facts a good dated biography of Hannah Woolley. Probably born 1623, she was one of the most prolific Elizabethan cookery writers. Due to the fact that her works were heavily plagiarised and she produced in total, five cookery books between 1661 and 1677, it made her the dominant figure amongst cookery authors. She was also the first to put her name to her works (although this volume remains anonymous) and make a precarious living from writing cookery books. In the supplement of ‘The Queen-like Closet’, Woolley informs us the she learned her cookery skills from her mother and elder sisters. By the age of seventeen she was employed for seven years by a noble lady, who encouraged her by buying her ingredients and books. She then married Woolley in 1647 when she was twenty-four. Woolley was the master of a free school at Newport Pond in Essex. Seven years later they moved and opened another school in Hackney with sixty boarders. Woolley died leaving Hannah with four children to support. She then married Francis Challinor in 1666. In the early 1660’s she possibly worked for Lady Anne Wroth and her daughter Mary to whom ‘The Cooks Guide’ is dedicated. This last book of Woolley’s is unusual, in that it addresses the complete back-of-house department skills besides just the kitchen. Addressing all the servants, or in Woolley’s words; Young Maidens, advising them of the various crucial skills needed to secure their position and improve them and importantly, to please their titled employers. This book shows just how astute Woolley was. She identified the back-of-house areas not generally covered solely in cookery books and produced one just specifically for that purpose. Oxford has a 1677 edition and comments on the usefulness of this little book. He informs of a 9th edition of 1729 with a supplement, but the plates removed. Hazlitt and Cagle have each a 5th edition of 1691. COPAC shows nine copies of the 1677 - 1st edition in UK holdings.

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ref number: 11215