Camden, New Jersey: Author's Edition, 1876. First Edition. Half-Calf. First Issue, one of only 100 copies [BAL 21411], sometimes called the Centennial Edition, after the label at foot of the spine. 8vo: 32,,84, 18,,x,,14,,68,,120pp, with albumen print frontispiece portrait of the poet autographed by Whitman tipped-in with printed two-line caption (in later states, the caption was extended to a third line) and inserted final leaf advertising Whitman's books. Original tan leather spine and corners (Meyerson's binding B, no known priority), spine compartments heavily tooled in gilt, three black and one red leather lettering pieces gilt, orange S cloth sides, all edges gilt, torquoise-coated endpapers embossed with all-over leaf pattern, cobalt-blue ribbon marker (and dried, pressed flower) laid in. First line of second paragraph on p. 60 changed in Whitman's hand (as in most first-issue copies) to read: 'Long, long ere the Second Centennial . . . ' A superior copy, virtually spotless, in a strong, fresh binding. BAL 21411. Meyerson A9.I.a. Wells and Goldsmith, pp. 21-22. Fine. Item #BB1123
"In a continuing effort to cash in on the nation's centennial celebration, Whitman decided in 1875 'to bring out a volume . . . partly as my contribution to our National Centennial.' The book would be called Two Rivulets; as Whitman explained the title, 'two flowing chains of prose and verse, emanating the real and ideal.' Whitman's continuing obsession with dualities now carries over into the tensions between prose (the language of the 'real') and poetry (the language of the 'ideal'). . . . Two Rivulets contains Democratic Vistas, Centennial Songs, As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free, Memoranda During the War and Passage to India, each with its own title page and pagination, since [Whitman] was in some cases using already printed unbound pages from the various independently published books. Whitman limited this Centennial Edition to 100 copies, printed in Camden (his first book to be printed in his new city) and bound by James Arnold in Philadelphia in two different bindings (black leather with marbled paper sides, and brown leather with orange cloth). The volume contains a copy of a Pearsall photograph of Whitman pasted onto a sheet of paper and inserted just before the title page indicating: "Photo'd from Life, Sept., '72, Brooklyn, N.Y.," with each copy signed "Walt Whitman / born May 31 /1819.' . . . The book is a striking example of Whitman's innovation in design. . . . Whitman had the first 100 copies bound to match his first printing of the 1876 Leaves, so that the two books could be sold as a Centennial set . . . (Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman). G. F. E. Pearsall's photograph has become one of the classic images of the poet. Note: With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.