Ruskin, John. The Ethics of the Dust: Ten Lectures to Little Housewives on the Elements of Crystallisation. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1867. Bound in full dark brown pigskin by Ellen Gates Starr in 1911, signed "E.G.S. 1911" on the rear turn-in, featuring a fascinating geometric design of five rows of alternating inlaid red and blue diamonds, with a pattern of rows with groups of four blue diamonds between. Each row is decorated with and connected by blind tooling, creating shapes of triangles and diamonds. Seven bands to spine, with the influence of Cobden-Sanderson seen with bands at the head and tail. Title to second compartment with inlaid red and blue diamond design and gilt squares at corners to remaining compartment. Gilt ruled turn-ins with red, blue, and gilt squares and diamonds to corners. All edges gilt, on the rough. Tan paper endpapers. Bookplate to front pastedown. Housed in dark blue full morocco solander case. A phenomenal example; near flawless.
It was not much as a plan, perhaps, but it was certainly a position. At the very least, Jane's outburst represented an embrace of John Ruskin's essays in Ethics of the Dust, which she read while traveling. Ruskin argued against the false value society placed on beautiful, scarce objects that were 'retained without a use." Such practices excited a false covetousness in human beings who were, by nature, generous. Only by putting beautiful objects of art to use, only by using them to communicate with others, could art realize its potential for improving human society. This was solid ideological ground that Jane and Ellen could share."
Later, in a letter back to Addams, Starr writes:
"...Miss Harrington instigated me to read Ethics of the Dust; that is to read it now. I shall read every word Ruskin ever wrote in the course of my life... I am deeply obliged to her for hastening my perusal of such a delightful book" (The Selected Papers of Jane Addams, Vol. 2: Venturing into Usefulness).
A rare opportunity to own an Ellen Gates Starr binding, and on a title that espoused the ideals that were the cornerstone of the founding of Hull House.