With a Signed Poem by the Author, and in a Fine Binding by a Distinguished Bibliophile


(Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company; Cambridge: The Riverside Press, 1893). 195 x 122 mm. (7 5/8 x 4 3/4"). 131, [1] pp. First Trade Edition, Second Issue (with "clashed" on p. 50, line 8).

ATTRACTIVE RED CRUSHED MOROCCO, FINISHED BY GEORGE ALBERT ZABRISKIE (stamp-signed "G A Z" on front turn-in), covers with gilt frame composed of plain and dotted rules accented with fleurons and volutes, cornerpieces with gilt and inlaid teal morocco botanical ornament, raised bands, spine panels with gilt floral sprig, gilt titling, turn-ins tooled with gilt leaves, marbled endpapers, top edge marbled. With three plates and 55 full-page illustrations by Howard Pyle. Front flyleaf WITH A TIPPED-IN MANUSCRIPT POEM SIGNED BY HOLMES, dated August 5th, 1891. BAL 9042. A hint of rubbing to front joint, but A FINE COPY INSIDE AND OUT, the text clean and fresh with generous margins, the binding lustrous and virtually unworn.

In a beautiful binding finished by a notable collector and Grolier Club member, this is one of Holmes' best-known works of poetry, inspired by a portrait of his great-grandmother, Dorothy Quincy, as a young girl. Physician, professor of anatomy, and dean of Harvard Medical School Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-94) was a skillful wordsmith, captivating audiences with his wordplay and anecdotes, whether delivered in a medical school lecture hall, at a Boston dinner party, or in his column in the "Atlantic Monthly." By turns tender and amusing, his verse here is a prime example of the warm style employed by the so-called Fireside Poets--a group that included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, William Cullen Bryant, and Holmes himself. With our copy is a signed manuscript poem that serves as a charming example of Holmes' lyrical wit: "A few can touch the magic string / And noisy Fame is proud to win them-- / Alas for those who never sing / But die with all their music in them!" The present copy is further distinguished by its fine binding finished by George Albert Zabriskie (1868-1954). An executive by day, Zabriskie was also a serious book collector, president of the New York Historical Society, and a member of the Grolier Club. His bibliophilic interests extended to include writing about and executing book bindings--particularly Cosway-style bindings and books finely bound in full morocco. Our binding is an excellent example of the latter, being attractively gilt and radiating shelf appeal.

Price: $1,500.00