New chez nous

Back-to-school season brings back memories of rentrée in Paris, and writing a similarly-timed blog post there last year. Now I’m writing from Philadelphia, PA, new home of Zoe Abrams Rare Books!

We moved back from Paris about a month ago and I just finished my next list of books for sale (stay tuned to the “shop” tab!), gathered from travels in France and further afield, all broadly concerning education: dictionaries, manuals, schools, etiquette, languages, and prize bookplates and bindings awarded to excellent students.

One of the most interesting items has to do with phys ed for 19th-century women and children. Here is the description with a photo I took (not the most graphically exciting, let’s admit it, so I’m adding a couple more photos of other items at the end):

[DAURIAT, Louise]. Discours prononcé par Madame Louise Dauriat, a la séance d’ouverture du Gymnase Civil et Orthopédique, le 6 Juillet 1834. [Paris]: Félix Malteste, [1834].

8vo, 20.4 x 12.8 cm. 16 pp. (small marginal waterstain on one page). Bound in recent marbled boards with printed label pasted onto front cover. Inscribed by the author on the title-page, “Á M. Guyot avocat, de la/ part de l’auteur.”

FIRST EDITION of this speech delivered by Louise Dauriat at the opening of a gymnasium founded by Spaniard Francisco Amoros (1770-1848), who was largely responsible for introducing children’s physical education in France. Mme. Dauriat advocates for the physical education of women as well as men, citing Spartan culture as an example and quoting Plutarch, “Elles faisaient connaître…qu’elles étaient capables de réussir aussie bien que les hommes…” (p. 5). She goes on to suggest that women’s moral education is way too limited, as is their instruction, or at least in extreme disproportion with their capabilities; and their physical education is totally “nulle.” One solution is for mothers to take responsibility for their children’s physical education. Most radically, Dauriat suggests young women should not marry until they have attained “toutes les forces dont elles sont capables” [all of the forces of which they are capable].


Discours prononcé par Madame Louise Dauriat, inscribed by her (Paris, 1834).

It turns out this pamphlet is not only avant-garde for its time but also quite rare. I was unable to trace it in any library at last search. I dare you to try (let me know)!

Here are some other items you can expect to find in my latest list (PS – in case it wasn’t obvious, EVERYTHING IS FOR SALE! Please write to for more information, pictures, or to sign up for the ZARB mailing list, delivering occasional micro-catalogues directly to your inbox).


Histoire de Pierre le Grand (Rouen, ca. 1895). Inscribed as being awarded to a student for first prize in arithmetic.


Not the most practical, but certainly the most handy French-English Dictionary (Glasgow, ca. 1900).

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