New York: Harper & Brothers, 1881. First edition, first printing. x, 457 pp., publisher's 6-page catalog at rear; small octavo, original brown cloth with gilt title. Moderate soiling and some puckering to cover cloth, title page foxed, private lending library bookplate to front fixed endpaper, near very good. Item #22879
Helen Hunt Jackson's exhaustively researched and impassioned catalog of abuses of Native Americans by the US government. Like her several previous published works of poetry, travel, and juvenile fiction, the author chose to publish "A Century of Dishonor" under the initials "H. H." and not to reveal her full name. The first publication to bear her name was the 1883 "Report on the Condition and Needs of the Mission Indians of California, Made by Special Agents Helen Jackson and Abbott Kinney to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs." Unfortunately, neither of these works brought the resulting reforms she hoped for. In 1884 Jackson published her best-known work, a novel, "Ramona," which drew on her "Report" for background and was written in emulation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Her hope was that a compelling story structured around the suffering and strife endured by California Indians would result in the same public outcry against injustice that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had generated on behalf of the enslaved. "Ramona" was and remains popular, but was apparently so succsessful as a sentimental and romantic story "that outrage was dampened by tears." (see Davidson and Wagner-Martin "Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States," OUP, 1995). Gift inscription noted under condition is to Canadian agriculturist and scientist William Saunders (1836-1914). Scarce. BAL 10444.