Lyndon Centre, Vermont: Caledonian Printers, November 21, 1873. Single bifolium, measuring 8 x 5 inches folded: . Program cover printed in red within a decorative floral border, interior printed in black. Offsetting to cover, short split to fold.
Program of an 1873 evening of literary and musical entertainments in Lyndon Centre, Vermont, featuring contributions from members of the Philadelphian and Charlotte Brontë societies. The Philadelphian Society was most likely the organization of that name founded at Middlebury College in 1804, with chapters at other colleges as well; the Charlotte Brontë Society, a local club for women. The evening featured prayer, musical performances, orations, recitations, essays, and charades, with men and women contributing equally to the program. The one exception is the debate on the proposition “woman should enjoy an equality of privileges with man,” which was conducted by men on both sides of the question. The participants appear to be young people of some social standing: Charles M. Darling, after leaving Dartmouth, would become a prominent rancher out West; Ella E. Thompson would go on to marry Samuel McCall, governor of Massachusetts. A compelling window into American cultural life after the Civil War, and evidence (in the name of the women’s club) of Charlotte Brontë’s considerable American reputation in the decades after her death.