Ann Preston (1813-1872) is best known as a medical pioneer and
nineteenth century Quaker activist. The immediate cause of the
publication of Cousin Ann's Stories for Children (1849) was most
likely the then recent 27 hour escape at the end of March, 1849, of
Henry "Box" Brown, a Richmond slave who left his family and escaped
north in a small wooden crate. Though Cousin Ann's Stories for
Children is one hundred and sixty-two years old, it still speaks to
contemporary concerns and moral perspectives. In its address "To My
Little Readers" she explains, "I thought I would write a little
book, and that would be a good way to speak with you, though I am
far away." What Cousin Ann speaks of is practicing temperance,
healthy diet and avoidance of tobacco, to treasure freedom and
abhor slavery, the bounty and beauty of God's creation, the need to
treat others generously and honestly.
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