JENKINS, Hester Donaldson. Behind Turkish Lattices. The Story of a Turkish Woman's Life. London, Chatto & Windus, 1911.
8vo. Original green cloth, lettered in gilt, top edge gilt, illustrated in white and gilt; pp. ix, 179, frontispiece and numerous plates after photographs, title printed in green and black; minimal rubbing to cloth, text a little brown-spotted, name inside front cover; otherwise very good.
First edition, the UK issue with a new title-page, of a scarce and important title. 'Hester Donaldson Jenkins (1869-1941), a professor at the American College for Girls in Constantinople from 1900-1909, wrote enthusiastically about the Young Turks, who in 1908 established a constitutional monarchy in the Ottoman Empire. They seemed to Jenkins to promise new freedoms for Ottoman women. In this book Jenkins uses her own observations of Constantinople, her students, and their families to construct an account of a typical Turkish Muslim womans life cycle at this turning point in Ottoman history. She intends her comments on childhood, education, marriage, polygamy, and divorce to correct Western misapprehensions and she notes how Ottoman women selectively adopted Western customs, such as European clothing, and increasingly practiced monogamy. Jenkins' corrective is only partial, however, for she describes Turkish women as childishly charming but sadly ignorant and in need of the uplifting influences of Western education. In its confidence in the bright prospects of American influence and Ottoman reform, this book captures an optimistic moment in which social progress seemed to prevail against the looming social and ethnic divisions of the Balkan and First World Wars' (blurb from a modern re-edition).