Philadelphia: David McKay, Publisher, 23 South Ninth Street, 1888 [but 1891]. First Edition. Cloth. Tall, thin 8vo: 140,pp, with portrait in the text but no frontispiece photograph inserted (as issued). Original dark green V cloth, beveled covers, spine titled in gilt, upper cover stamped in gilt with tile and Whitman's facsimile autograph, top edge gilt, others untrimmed, wove end papers, laid front fly leaf. "These sheets are probably the 400 copies printed in May, 1891. . . . It seems probable . . . that after Whitman's death his executors had these sheets and the remainder of Good-Bye My Fancy [a copy of which we also have on offer] bound in uniform, but separate, bindings." (BAL 21430, printing 3). With occasional underlining and marginal commentary in pencil on first 18 leaves. Book plate of Virginia bibliophile Christopher Clark Geest to front paste down. Inscribed on front fly leaf to Courtney Lemon (his stamp in blue ink to title page) in 1902 by Whitman executor Horace Traubel: "To / Courtney Lemon / with heartfelt / remembrances & with / peaceful joy from Horace Traubel," with note in Traubel's hand beneath inscription, "W. W. assisted with g[reen] binding of N. Boughs for distribution among his friends. It was never printed for the market." A superb survival with fine association, square and tight, cloth clean with bright gilt, pages fresh and unmarked. Myerson A12.I.c. Fine. Item #BB1258
"One of the most remarkable things about Whitman is that as his health deteriorated, he increased his publishing activity. Part of the reason was his new circle of friends in Camden and Philadelphia . . . most importantly, Horace Traubel, trained as a typesetter and an active publisher and printer his whole life. He became Whitman's close friend and disciple when he was a teenager, and, as he grew up, he became Whitman's emissary to the Philadelphia/Camden printing and publishing community. . . . During the last four years of Whitman's life, from March 1888 to Whitman's death in March 1892, he recorded his daily conversations with Whitman (now published in nine volumes of well over 5000 pages), among which are detailed publication histories of Whitman's last books. The first book we have this record for is November Boughs, Whitman's attempt once again to merge poetry and prose in one book . . . [W]hen Traubel asked him when he was going to bring it out, Whitman's response was telling: "it will come out, and before long, God willing, and you, Horace Traubel, willing: for I shall need you to help me through with this expedition. . . ." Traubel would now be his lifeline to ongoing publishing activity, and it turned out he was more than up to the task. The book contains 64 poems and a lot of prose, including "A Backward Glance O'er Travel'd Roads" and an essay on Elias Hicks. The poems are striking reflections on old age, and everything about this book . . . suggests a kind of November of the soul, the self heading into winter and death. Whitman worried about the binding of the book, ordering Traubel to make changes in the lettering when he saw the first sample. . . . For the third printing, bound after the poet's death, his executors moved to a deep green cloth . . . " (Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.