WHITMAN, Walt. Leaves of Grass. Philadelphia: McKay, 1891-2. 8vo. Portrait inserted. Original heavy gray wrappers, printed yellow spine label, unopened (2 1/2-inch split toward bottom of front outer joint); half morocco slipcase. Provenance: Frederic Dannay (sale at Christie's New York, 16 December 1983, lot 372).
"Deathbed Edition" (the ninth separate edition of Leaves of Grass), BAL's Printing 1, Binding A (Myerson's Binding B). A RARE AND TOUCHING PRESENTATION COPY, inscribed to Whitman's favorite male nurse by Horace L. Traubel, Whitman's friend and one of his three literary executors: "To Warren Fritzinger, Jan. 7, 1892, given by direction of Walt Whitman from his sick bed. H.L.T" "In October  ... Warren Fritzinger [a young man who had been raised from boyhood by Whitman's housekeeper, Mary Davis, took the previous male nurse's place]. He was greatly devoted to his patient and remained with Whitman until his death, though shortly before the end a professional [female] nurse ... was employed. Of all the nurses Whitman had, 'Warry' was his favourite" (Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer, New York, 1955, p.535). Whitman died on 26 March 1892: "He heard bells ringing and tried to call to young Warry Fritzinger to close the windows ... He was dying ... Above his head there was a bell-rope, put in when he couldn't thump on the floor any more with his heavy cane to attract Warry's attention ... Warry Fritzinger and Mrs. Davis saw him reach suddenly above his head for the bell-rope. His arms fell..." (Camerson Rogers, The Magnificent Idler, New York, 1926, pp.309-312).
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." Despite binding defect noted above, a fine copy.