Book, 'A First History of Greece'; Elizabeth Sewell (1815-1906); 1852; XEC.3018


Book, 'A First History of Greece'


Elizabeth Sewell (1815-1906)

Maker Role


About this object

This book was given to Blanche Lush from her Godfather in 1853. Blanche, known as Blannie to her family, was highly educated, not only in the expected female norms for the Victorian era, but also in “book learning” as well. Therefore, this book would have aided Blannie in her studies of history.

‘A First History of Greece’ was written by the English author, Elizabeth Sewell, who wrote a number of religious and educational books for children during the 19th century. Sewell was also an advocate for the education of middle-class girls and established St. Boniface School in Ventnor, England, in 1866.

During the 19th century, educating girls was seen by many parents to be fruitless. This was because women were expected to marry, have children and run a household, all of which did not need formal education. (1) However, Blannie’s parents, Vicesimus and Blanche Lush, stressed the importance of education and endeavoured to educate all of their children, including their four daughters. In 1851, Blannie’s father established a school at the All Saints Church in Howick, Auckland, where he served as the Anglican minister. In his journals, Vicesimus states that the school role consisted of 12 boys and 15 girls, which included his daughters, Blannie and Charlotte. Blannie was taught mainly by her father, but also attended Miss Hill's private school for girls in Auckland in 1853. (2) As part of her lessons, Blannie’s father would often take her to cultural places such as the opera or theatre. One excursion to the Auckland Museum on 22 July 1856 was described in her father’s journal: “… we met Blannie’s friend Mary Abraham, and I took the two young friends to the Museum, at which they were delighted. There is really a very creditable collection of shells, birds, reptiles, stones and curiousities…” (3). When she got older, Blannie was required to teach her younger brothers and sisters before they were old enough to attend school.

(1) Anne Else, ‘Gender inequalities – Education,’ Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand,
(2) Alison Drummond (ed.), 'The Auckland Journals of Vicesimus Lush 1850-63,' 1971, p. 143.
(3) Ibid, p. 181.

For more information about the Lush family and Ewelme Cottage, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.

Medium and Materials



18 x 11 x 2cm

Date Made


Place Made

London, England


Longmans, Green and Co. (estab. 1724)

Publication Date


Publication Place

London, England

Subject and Association Keywords


Credit Line

Collection of Ewelme Cottage, Heritage New Zealand Historic Pouhere Taonga

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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