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This is an auction for THE NOT SO POOR: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1871-1923, by Mary Isabella Lee.

“This autobiography by the mother of John A Lee is a rare first-hand account of the life of a working-class woman in New Zealand at the end of the 19th century."

From the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand:

"Mary Isabella Taylor was born in Scotland in 1871. In 1877 she emigrated with her parents to Dunedin. For 10 years the family moved around Otago and Southland, sometimes staying a year or more in one place, but usually only a few months. Three more children were born. Alice Taylor suffered from severe alcoholism, which apparently contributed to the family's transience. She often attacked Mary physically, and when Mary was 10 threw a mug at her in anger, striking her on the head. The wound caused increasing deafness and periodic loss of sight. The family's moves and their need for household labour and childcare frequently interrupted Mary's schooling. She first left school at the age of 12, because her mother wanted her to earn money, although she did return for a while. She was sent out to work as a 'nurse girl' to several households, and was briefly apprenticed to a dressmaking firm; later she made envelopes and paper bags at the Mataura paper mill. When the family moved to Dunedin she began to earn a living by sewing, which became her lifelong occupation. Despite her often poor sight and the low wages, she was proud of her skill and dressmaking was the occupation of her choice. Alice Taylor's violence continued. At the age of 16 Mary put a bundle out of the bedroom window, went off to work and did not return…”

Large format University of Auckland Press paperback 1992.

163 pages.

Photographs throughout.

Very good condition.

The cost of shipping is $6.40 (tracked mail). If you are on rural delivery the shipping cost will be $8.95.

There is of course no charge for shipping if you collect this book from my shop in Palmerston ?North following the auction.

Payment within seven days, please.
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Shipping options

  • tracked mail$6.40
  • tracked mail for Rural Delivery (RD)$8.95
  • Seller allows pick-ups
  • Seller location: Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ

Payment options

  • NZ bank deposit
  • Cash