[Emerson's first verse] Emerson, R.W. Boston: James Munroe and Company, 1847. 4 pp preliminary ads. Original pale yellow glazed boards with printed paper spine label.
First American Edition of Emerson's first volume of verse, more than 60 poems, published actually right around Christmas 1846. (The UK edition by Chapman Brothers, likewise dated 1847, came out sometime during the first two weeks of December 1846.) Actually "the first three printings within this [American] edition cannot be distinguished" [Myerson]: 1500 copies were printed in October 1846, followed by an unknown number of copies in April 1847, and by another unknown number of copies in December 1847. Emerson himself paid the costs of composition and printing, retaining the copyright and the plates; Munroe got a 30% commission on the 87-cent price of the book.
Copies appear in two states, one with preliminary ad catalogue dated January 1, 1847 and with a half-title, and the other without either of these; as noted by Myerson, some copies (including this one) do have the ad catalogue but not the half-title. Since the 1840s was the decade of changeover from boards-and-label to cloth bindings, this edition was available in either: this copy is in the former -- pale yellow glazed boards with printed spine label.
This is a fine copy, with scarcely any wear and surprisingly little soil for such pale-colored boards (a few tiny dents in the spine). The original yellow endpapers are intact. An early owner (perhaps the one whose faint signature appears at the top of the title page) affixed to the first ad leaf a contemporary review which proclaims POEMS to be "the most remarkable volume of American poetry that has yet appeared," and affixed to the second ad leaf a newspaper printing of "The Snow-Storm," which poem appears on pp 65-66. Myerson A18.2; Blanck 5211. One could not hope for a better copy of this 1847 first edition bound in these fragile original glazed boards. Housed in a cloth slipcase with leather label and inner chemise. Item #14891