“ONE SONG, AMERICA, BEFORE I GO”: FIRST EDITION OF TWO RIVULETS, SIGNED BY WALT WHITMAN ON ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH
WHITMAN, Walt. Two Rivulets; Including Democratic Vistas, Centennial Songs, and Passage to India. Camden, New Jersey, 1876. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter brown calf, original black morocco spine label, marbled boards, yellow coated endpapers. $6000.
First and only edition, boldly signed by Whitman in 1880 on the original albumen photograph portrait that serves as a frontispiece. With old bookseller’s description, which includes a facsimile of Whitman’s 1871 letter proposing a British edition of Leaves of Grass, tipped in at front.
"On 2 May 1875, Whitman announced: 'I shall… bring out a volume this summer, partly as my own contribution to our National Centennial. It is to be called Two Rivulets - (i.e. two flowing chains of prose and verse, emanating the real and ideal)[.] it will embody much that I had previously written & that you know, but about one-third, as I guess, that is fresh" (Myerson, 196) The book contains Two Rivulets, Democratic Vistas, Centennial Songs – 1876, As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free, Memoranda During the War and Passage to India. This is the second printing, one of 650 copies printed; it was preceded by a first printing of only 100 copies. Century Library stamp to bottom margin of title page.
Inner hinges reinforced with cloth tape. Only light rubbing to extremities. An extremely good copy, far better than usually found.