STERN, Henry Aaron (1820-1885). Wanderings Among the Falashas in Abyssinia: Together with a Description of the Country and its Various Inhabitants. London: Wertheim, Macintosh, and Hunt, 1862.

$ 560.00

8vo., (8 ¾ x 6 inches). Fine folding engraved “Map of East Sennaar and Abyssinia” (short tear near mount, slightly affecting image); fine engraved hand-tinted frontispiece; 7 full-page tinted plates; 12 in-text engravings. Contemporary half brown calf, purple cloth, the spine in six compartments with five raised bands, red morocco gilt lettering piece in one and gilt stamped in the rest (extremities worn with some loss, chip to rear board).

Provenance: With contemporary manuscript ownership inscription of “Elizabeth M. Currie 1885” to flyleaf. With contemporary bookplate of Perry Alport Molteno (born in Cape Colony, South Africa, a lawyer, shipping magnate, and liberal MP from 1906-1918) to front pastedown.

First edition. Henry Aaron Stern was a Jewish-born convert to Protestantism who became an Anglican missionary and captive in Abyssinia. Born in Germany, Stern moved to London in 1839, where he converted to Christianity. He became a lifelong missionary for the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews (also known as the London Jewish Society, or London Jews’ Society). With his wife, he proseletized in Palestine, Babylon, Constantinople, Baghdad, Persia, and to the Karaite Jews of the Crimea. In 1863, he became entangled in a diplomatic dispute in Ethiopia that led to his imprisonment. Five years later, he was rescued by a British military forced, and was made a doctor of divinity in 1881. He wrote three memoirs, including the one here, which served as source material for Albert Augustus Isaacs’ 1886 biography of Stern. Though hagiographic and written from a religious point of view, it includes informative accounts of missionary work among Jewish communities and gives insight into Victorian England’s orientalism. Fumagalli 242. Hilmy II, p. 260.

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