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[Whitman, Walt- Very Fine Copy of the Exceedingly Scarce First Issue Drum-Taps, Presented by Whitman to a Boy Nextdoor, As Recorded by the Boy's Subsequent Presentation Inscription Years Later] Drum-Taps. First edition

[Whitman, Walt- Very Fine Copy of the Exceedingly Scarce First Issue Drum-Taps, Presented by Whitman to a Boy Nextdoor, As Recorded by the Boy's Subsequent Presentation Inscription Years Later] Drum-Taps. First edition

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[Whitman, Walt- Very Fine Copy of the Exceedingly Scarce First Issue Drum-Taps, Presented by Whitman to a Boy Nextdoor, As Recorded by the Boy's Subsequent Presentation Inscription Years Later] Drum-Taps. First edition

by Whitman, Walt

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  • Hardcover
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About This Item

New York, 1865. 7 1 4 x 4 1 2 inches. 72pp. Original publisher's brown sand-grain cloth with blind-stamped triple-rule frame, front cover with bold gilt-blocked circular background in horizontal weave, surrounded by single circular gilt frame; the back cover with exact same motif, but in blind. A FINE COPY, with virtually no signs of wear. PRESENTATION COPY FROM WALT WHITMAN TO A NEIGHBOR BOY, LEONARD HORNER, in the hand of the recipient (though as an older man), as follows: "Presented to Leonard Horner by Walt Whitman- (in Person) Jan - 1885-- (to be given to his Mother),î written in wavering hand on the front free fly. As well, there is are signature initials on the upper right of the same page, "PEH," more than likely the party to which Horner later presented the book.

Regarding this superb Presentation, Ted Genoways, Whitman scholar, makes these following fascinating observations: ìThe name ìWm. Leonard Hornerî (apparently in his own hand) appears in one of Whitmanís notebooks for early 1885, at which time he was only 9 or 10 years old and lived near Whitman in Camden. (Whitmanís house was just off South Fourth Street; Hornerís family lived on South Fifth.) Based on his young age at the time of Presentation, it is likely that this inscription was made late in life as a memento for whomever Horner was giving it to (perhaps ìPEH.î) All of this would go a long way toward explaining the rare first binding version of the book. Whitman bound some copies but seems to have largely withheld themóprobably because of the evolving events around Lincolnís death and burial.î Interestingly, Hornerís father, George, sold retail groceries in Camden and specialized in butter. Young Leonard may have been a delivery boy for his father, and came to meet Whitman on his deliveries.

Drum-Taps was first published (privately) as a separate book of 53 poems (72pp.) in 1865, first by Peter Eckler. However, Eckler actually subcontracted with another printer named Alvord, who did the actual printing. The second edition of Drum-Taps, which is much more commonly available today, included eighteen more poems (often termed the "Sequel" to Drum-Taps). The first printing (as per our copy) was contracted to print on April 1, 1865, and Whitman reported it was "now to press" on April 26 and would be ready for delivery to the binder by the beginning of May. Whitman then wrote to Eckler on May 3, 1865, to deliver the sheets to the binder. As for the Second Edition ("The Sequel"), Whitman famously halted the original dispersal of his newly printed book in order to add, especially, one poem, and then finally a 24-page sequel of poetry, the second edition, which became widely referred to as "The Sequel to Drum-Taps." The background and history of the events is palpably heartbreaking. In the morning of April 15, 1865, newspapers began to unfold the terrible news of the assassination of President Lincoln, and Whitman, deeply saddened by his passing, felt a responsibility to use his book as a vehicle for grieving. Over the following months Whitman split time between Brooklyn and the Capitol while also adding several additions to his compilation of poems. His poem "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," added to the sequel, became extremely popular, and arguably his final and perhaps greatest single success of his career. Not to be lost in all of this, and especially for the historian and bibliographer, the second printing far outsold and remained in circulation to a far greater degree than the true first edition. To be sure, the first edition, without the Sequel, is one of the great "holy grail" unobtainable Whitman objects of importance in the bibliographic world.

How rare is the first issue? Very few copies of the first issue have found their way to the marketplace (we have not been able to locate one in the past 30 years). Ed Folsom, Whitman scholar, declares (private communication) "The big question is how many of those original 500 printed sets of pages got bound? We know that Whitman paid for 100 of them to be bound, so there may have been as many as 100 bound copies of the original first issue Drum-Taps that existed back in 1865, but that seems unlikely. F. DeWolfe Miller's exhaustive 1959 account of the composition and printing history of Drum-Taps (in his facsimile reproduction published by Scholars' Facsimile & Reprints) says this: 'What happened to most of the hundred copies Whitman paid in advance to have bound, no one seems to know. Whitman may even have reduced the order to only a few. My census of the known copies . . . accounts for only eighteen.'"

The importance of Drum-Taps in the oeuvre of American poetry cannot be minimized. With the Civil War opening in April of 1861, Whitmanís poetic and philosophical attention was focused on the chaos that soon grew to a fever pitch in the United States. His vision of democracy and freedom developed palpably during this time. In the winter of 1862, Whitman went in search of his brother, George, whoíd been wounded in the Battle of Fredericksburg, and after witnessing casualties of war at the hospital, Walt was profoundly moved. For the next three years, he would devote himself to helping the soldiers. This experience no doubt helped shape some of the poems found in ìDrum-Taps,î being directly based on events transpiring in these places. Years later, Whitman told Horace Traubel that Drum-Taps was "put together by fits and starts, on the field, in the hospitals as I worked with the soldier boys.î We present here a fine copy of Whitmanís most scarce book, with a fascinating Presentation history and provenance. Housed in a beautiful quarter green crushed morocco folding clamshell box with green cloth boards with gilt ruling, spine of box with five raised bands, gilt lettering and ruling.

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Details

Bookseller
Nudelman Rare Books US (US)
Bookseller's Inventory #
5030
Title
[Whitman, Walt- Very Fine Copy of the Exceedingly Scarce First Issue Drum-Taps, Presented by Whitman to a Boy Nextdoor, As Recorded by the Boy's Subsequent Presentation Inscription Years Later] Drum-Taps. First edition
Author
Whitman, Walt
Book Condition
Used
Quantity Available
1
Binding
Hardcover
Place of Publication
New York
Date Published
1865
Weight
0.00 lbs

Terms of Sale

Nudelman Rare Books

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About the Seller

Nudelman Rare Books

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2011
Seattle, Washington

About Nudelman Rare Books

Specializing in Fine Bindings By Noted Bookbinders; High Spots and Inscribed Copies of Important 19th-20th Century English and American Literature; Autograph Letters and Manuscripts; Fine Press Books; Unusual and Rare Children's and Illustrated; Art Nouveau; Pre-Raphaelite Poetry and Associations; Jugendstil, Wiener Werkstatte; 1890's.Long-standing rare book dealer established in 1979, in Seattle, Washington specializing in the highest quality fine and rare books, primarily from the 18th through 20th Centuries. We value your patronage and would love to have you join our mailing list where we offer illustrated catalogs twice a year by PDF (with copious photos of content). All books are guaranteed as described, and returnable within 7 days for any reason. By Appointment Only.

Glossary

Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Fine
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the...
Facsimile
An exact copy of an original work. In books, it refers to a copy or reproduction, as accurate as possible, of an original...
Clamshell Box
A protective box designed for storing and preserving a bound book or loose sheets. A clamshell box is hinged on one side, with...
Gilt
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...
Cloth
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...
Spine
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...
Morocco
Morocco is a style of leather book binding that is usually made with goatskin, as it is durable and easy to dye. (see also...
Raised Band(s)
Raised bands refer to the ridges that protrude slightly from the spine on leather bound books. The bands are created in the...
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