"I HERE WITH PEN AND INK APPEND MY NAME": SCARCE EDITION OF LEAVES OF GRASS, SIGNED BY WHITMAN, WITH ORIGINAL BUTTERFLY PHOTOGRAPH, ADDITIONALLY INSCRIBED BY ONE OF WHITMAN'S LITERARY EXECUTORS, THOMAS B. HARNED
WHITMAN, Walt. Leaves of Grass with Sands at Seventy & a Backward Glance o'er Travel'd Roads. May 31, 1889… Portraits from Life. Autograph. Special Ed'n. [Camden, New Jersey, 1889]. Octavo, full original gilt-stamped limp black morocco, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt.
One of only 300 copies of Leaves of Grass printed in commemoration of Whitman's 70th birthday, boldly signed by Whitman on the title page, with six portraits of Whitman, including the famous original mounted frontispiece photograph with a butterfly resting on his finger. This copy additionally inscribed by one of Whitman's literary executors, Thomas B. Harned.
Whitman's explanatory note is printed on the title page: "Today, after finishing my 70th year, the fancy comes for celebrating it by a special complete, final utterance, in one handy volume of L. of G. with their Annex, and Backward Glance-and for stamping and sprinkling all with portraits and facial photos, such as they actually were, taken from life, different stages. Doubtless, anyhow, the volume is more a Person than a book. And for testimony to all (and good measure) I here with pen and ink append my name." This copy is in binding C. Myerson A2.7.n. Wells and Goldsmith, 32-33. This copy bears a gift inscription that reads: "To Miss Mabel Lyon with compliments of Thomas B. Harned. Oct 6-99. Sent at suggestion of M.H. Lichten." Thomas B. Harned, a Camden, New Jersey lawyer, was one of Walt Whitman's closest friends. Harned was with Whitman when he died and served as pallbearer at his funeral. Harned, along with his brother-in-law, Horace Traubel, was one of Whitman's literary executors. Mabel Lyon, to whom Harned gave this copy, was a Camden socialite. Lichten, who suggested she might enjoy this book, accompanied her to several events. He is best known for his involvement with Doylestown, Pennsylvania's National Farm School, an endeavor intended to train disadvantaged young men in the agricultural sciences.
Light expert restoration to marbled endpapers and to extremities of binding; gilt bright. An exceptional, lovely copy with an interesting inscription and association.