Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1871. First Edition. Cloth. 8vo: vii,,-24,pp. Original dark green FL cloth over beveled boards, upper cover stamped in gilt, top edge gilt, plain paper end papers. (BAL notes two bindings, "no sequence established." Ours is binding B, apparently the scarcer of the two. Binding A was of flexible FL cloth (green or terra-cotta). Virtually pristine: fine, bright copy, enclosed in a purpose-made chemise and quarter morocco slipcase. BAL 21405. Wells & Goldsmith, pp. 15-16. Myerson, p. 180-182. Fine. Item #BB1645
First book edition (or second, according to Myerson) of a poem originally published in broadside format. "This little book, reprinting Whitman's poem that was commissioned for the Managers American Institute Exhibition in New York in 1871, was printed by Roberts Brothers in Boston, and stereotyped by John Wilson and Son in an edition of 2,000 copies; at least 300 copies remained unbound as late as 1889. Whitman eventually retitled the poem "Song of the Exposition" and included it in Leaves of Grass. He issued the book in two different colored bindings, initiating a pattern he would follow with others of his last books—to give readers a choice between dark green and dark red. . . . He was proud of this little book, talking about how "wonderfully neat" it was: "How healthy the print!—the big clean type!" And he found particular significance in the cover: "This is my design—I conceived it." (Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman) According to Myerson, in 1889 David McKay (then Whitman's publisher) took remainder sheets of the original issue and had them bound in cloth. The first issue flexible cloth binding is common; the second-issue binding in boards is scarce. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.