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Walt Whitman


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Walt Whitman, 1819-1892.
Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn, N.Y., 1855.

This is a copy of the extremely rare first printing of the first edition of Leaves of Grass. This slim volume, containing twelve poems and a long prose preface, was continually revised and enlarged by Whitman. The book went through eleven successive editions until the time of Whitman's death in 1892, by which time 283 poems had been added.

Song of the Broad-axe

Walt Whitman, 1819-1892.
Song of the Broad-axe; with illustrations cut on wood by Wharton H. Esherick. Philadelphia: Centaur Press, 1924.

Wharton H. Esherick (1887-1970) of Paoli, Pennsylvania, was a woodworker and wood engraver, best-known for his "free-form" sculptural furniture. His illustrations for books and prints, however, were done in a more traditional style.

Salut au monde

Walt Whitman, 1819-1892.
Salut au monde; linoleum cuts by Vojtech Preissig. New York: Random, 1930.

Vojtech Preissig (1873-1944) was a Czech illustrator, typographer, and printer. His early work was influenced by Alfonse Mucha, but his work turned to bold modernist abstraction in the 1930's. His type and book designs helped define the Czech graphic arts identity of the early twentieth century. After working for many years in the United States, he returned to Prague in the late 1930s. His activities with the Resistance against the Nazis led to his death in the Dachau concentration camp.

Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman, 1819-1892.
Leaves of Grass: comprising all the poems written by Walt Whitman: following the arrangement of the edition of 1891-'2. New York: Random House, Inc., 1930.

This limited edition of 400 copies, printed by Edwin and Robert Grabhorn at the Grabhorn Press, is considered the Press's masterwork. Illustrator Valenti Angelo was a largely self-taught artist who collaborated with the Grabhorns over a six year period, adding his woodcuts to some of their most acclaimed work. The book was handset in the Newstyle type of Frederic Goudy, the most important American type designer of his time.

Complete Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman, 1819-1892.
Complete Leaves of Grass, with prose essences and annotations, by William L. Moore; calligraphy by Kazuko Okamoto. Tokyo: Tiabundo, 1966.

This Japanese edition of Leaves of Grass pairs the verses in English with calligraphic Japanese characters, representing themes in Whitman's work.

American Bard

Walt Whitman, 1819-1892.
American Bard; being the preface to the first edition of Leaves of Grass now restored to its native verse rhythms and presented as a living poem. Santa Cruz, Calif.: Lime Kiln Press, 1981.

William Everson (1912-1994) was a widely-admired poet, teacher, and printer who established the Lime Kiln Press at the University of California, Santa Cruz. American Bard, both illustrated and printed by Everson was his last work with Lime Kiln Press.

Walt Whitman, 1819-1892.
Wrenching Times: Poems from Drum-taps; selected by M. Wynn Thomas; wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec. Newtown, Powys,Wales: Gwasg Gregynog, 1991.

The Gregynog Press was the brainchild of two sisters, Gwendoline and Margaret Davies, who in 1922 established the press at their home, Gregynog Hall, in rural Wales. Re-established in 1978 under its Welsh title Gwasg Gregynog, the Press continues the tradition of fine press printing emphasizing hand craftsmanship and collaboration with contemporary artists. This work combines Whitman's powerful poems of the Civil War with the pastoral landscapes of wood-engraver Gaylord Schanilec.