Philadelphia: Rees Welsh, 1882. First Thus. Cloth. Crown 8vo (18.5 x 12 cm). [advertisement] 382 pp.
First Philadelphia edition. Slip inserted at front announcing Specimen Days as ready in September and advertising Leaves of Grass: Original mustard cloth with gilt pictorial design of a butterfly and lettering to spine; gilt facsimile signature to front cover. Tissue-guarded, steel-engraved portrait by Samuel Hollyer from a daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison. Light gray endpapers. Tight, clean copy. Spine ends creased, cloth with light wear, indistinguishable tipped-in leaf replaces first blank, tissue guard foxed.
Walt Whitman (1819–1892) is considered one of the most influential American poets. Leaves of Grass was a very controversial collection of poetry for its time due to its overt sexuality. This edition was largely a reprint of the Boston 1881-1882 suppressed edition, whose publisher stopped issuing the work on the suggestion of obscenity by the Massachusetts attorney general. Despite the legal pressure, Rees Welsh issued four printings, indistinguishable by BAL; a continual work in progress, at least sixteen alterations were made, including the addition of "returning in reminiscence," and the replacement of "the slaughter and environment" by "the craft, the fatal environment." A well-preserved, unique edition with uncommon slip tipped-in at front endpapers. BAL 21418, 21419. Johnson p.528. Rare Book Hub online. Very good+ in no dust jacket if issued. Item #841