WHITMAN, Walt (1819-1892). Leaves of Grass. Philadelphia: McKay, 1891-2.
8o. (First blank and title reinserted, lower half of first blank torn away not affecting inscription.) Original heavy gray wrappers, printed yellow spine label, untrimmed (repaired, wrappers mostly renewed); cloth slipcase. Provenance: Sylvester Baxter, journalist (presentation inscription); Alfred M. Kahn (bookplate).
"Deathbed Edition" (the ninth separate edition of Leaves of Grass), BAL's Printing 1, Binding A (Myerson's Binding B). A RARE PRESENTATION COPY TO A CLOSE SUPPORTER, inscribed by Horace L. Traubel, Whitman's friend and one of his three literary executors: "To Sylvester Baxter With the love of Walt Whitman Mar. 19. 1892 Sent by H[orace] L. T[raubel]." Hinged to the inner front wrapper is a postcard from Traubel to Baxter, 19 March 1892: "I send copy of L. of G. to you at Whitman's request & with his remembrance & love. Please acknowledge to me." Beneath Traubel's inscription is an autograph envelope panel addressed to Baxter in Whitman's hand, postmarked 31 Oct. n.y. Baxter was an editor at the Boston Herald who had favorably reviewed and supported Whitman's work. Not long after the publication of Memoranda During the War (1875), Baxter, pursuing a suggestion first made by William Sloane Kennedy, urged Congress to provide Whitman with a pension for his war work. Baxter and Kennedy also raised a fund to build Whitman a cottage on Timber Creek; the $800 collected was turned over to Whitman without stipulation (Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer, New York, 1960, pp.254-5).
Only three copies with presentation inscriptions in Whitman's hand are located in Myerson. The great majority of presentation copies (as this) are inscribed by Horace L. Traubel for Whitman and even these are rare on the market, most being in institutional libraries. BAL 21441: "The first copies received by Whitman were bound in a brown paper wrapper which he considered to be flimsy, so further copies were bound in a heavier gray paper wrapper;" Myerson A2.7.I2; Wells & Goldsmith, pp.34-35: "This issue [for presentation to friends] is extremely rare and did not exceed fifty copies."