Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1863. 1 preliminary page undated ads. Original blind-stamped blue-green cloth with gilt-decorated spine.
First Edition, which consisted of only 1558 copies. This posthumous collection of naturalist essays (including "A Winter Walk," "Autumnal Tints," "Night and Moonlight" and "Walking") was Thoreau's third book, preceded only by A WEEK ON THE CONCORD AND MERRIMACK RIVERS (1849) and WALDEN (1854). When Thoreau died of tuberculosis in May 1862 (at the age of 44), nothing of his had been published during the eight years since WALDEN. The editor of this book was the author's sister Sophia Thoreau; the 26-page "Biographical Sketch" of Thoreau is by his friend and neighbor Ralph Waldo Emerson. Included is an engraved frontispiece portrait of Thoreau -- the first publication of his likeness anywhere.
This copy is in pebble-grain cloth; others are in triangular-grain cloth, or in cloth with a zigzag pattern (no priority; the gilt and blind-stamping on all three types of cloth is identical).
This is a very good-plus copy (light shelf-wear at the spine edges); the spine gilt is less oxidized than usual, and thus quite legible. As always, in spite of the presence of the frontispiece tissue, the engraved portrait of Thoreau has offset onto the title page. Borst A3.1.a; Blanck 20111. Note: the front endpaper bears an original bookseller's mini-label of Dawson Bros. of Montreal, who would go on to be a major Canadian bookbinder and publisher: the presence of this booklabel indicates that some of the 1558 copies were shipped north to be a Canadian issue of the first edition. Item #14463