As I've mentioned before, one of the great dangers besetting those of us who work on nineteenth-century religious/didactic materials is that, if we're in the US, we may not have access to anything other than the US reprints of British originals. And, unless we're in luck, there may be no way to check if the reprint actually follows the original (in fact, it may not be possible to locate a publicly-available copy of the UK original, in the UK or out of it). I was reminded of this today while working on yet another essay on the Bronte sisters. After their deaths, the once-shocking sisters were frequently repackaged for consumption as moral exemplars, suitable for young girls to emulate. Here's the TOC for Women of Worth: A Book for Girls in its UK form:
And here's the US reprint:
Not quite the same! Obviously discontented with the relative paucity of US examples in the original, the US publisher has added five more (the Washingtons, Motte, Newell, and Lanman Smith). For no apparent reason, the ordering of Wordsworth and Flaxman has been flipped, and Lady Jane Grey and Mary Somerville disappear entirely. Although both editions obviously use each woman to stand in for a specific moral "type," it's interesting that the US edition puts the woman before the virtue she typifies--slightly more emphasis on her individuality, perhaps? Spot-checking suggests that the biographies themselves are identical, but someone relying on the US edition to catalog, say, references to Lady Jane Grey in the nineteenth century would find themselves tripped up.