WHITMAN, Walt. Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn: [Printed for the Author], 1855. 2o (287 x 205 mm). Engraved frontispiece portrait with tissue guard. Original green cloth, gilt-lettered and decorated in blind on front and back covers within a triple gilt rule, gilt-lettered and decorated spine, marbled endpapers, g.e. (small, unobtrusive repairs at end of spine, very slight wear at rear outer joint and two fore-corners, skilfully tightened in binding, small oval library duplicate rubber stamp on verso of title-leaf); blue cloth folding case. Provenance: Howard Motley Hayes (bookplate at front endpaper) -- Lenox Library, New York Public Library (stamp as above).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE BINDING (BAL's and Myerson's Binding A), First State of the frontispiece portrait (on heavy paper), second state of the copyright page as usual, second state of p. iv. "Whitman was spending nearly every day there [at the printing office of James and Thomas Rome in Brooklyn] that spring [of 1855], writing, revising, reading proof, even working at the type case, just as he had done twenty years earlier as an apprentice printer. Altogether he set in type about ten of the ninety-five pages of a book that he also designed, produced, published, promoted...The 795 copies the Romes ran off on their hand press and delivered to the binder were all there were or could be of the first edition. No plates were made; the book was printed from type, and the type distributed" (Justin Kaplan, Walt Whitman: a Life, Toronto: Bantam Books, 1982, p. 198). Myerson notes that 795 copies were bound: 337 in Binding A in June and July 1855; 262 in Binding B (see following lot) in December 1855 and January 1856; and 196 copies in two other binding styles. BAL 21395; Grolier American 67; Myerson A2.I.a1; Printing and the Mind of Man 340. A VERY GOOD, BRIGHT COPY.