May 31, 1889. Notes, Addresses, Letters, Telegrams. Edited by Horace L. Traubel. Philadelphia: David McKay, 1889. Original maroon cloth.

First Edition of this group of writings, by Whitman and others, upon the occasion of the "Complimentary Dinner" held in his honor in Camden on May 31, 1889 -- his 70th birthday (he would have only two more). The three Whitman pieces making their first appearance here are his own lengthy "Autobiographic Note" (page 4), his brief response at the dinner (page 5), and Whitman's own advertisement for his books (complete with mailing address for sending funds "to W.W.'s order" (page 74). Quoting about half of his response:

My friends, though announc'd to give an address, there is no such intention... I have obeyed the command to come and look at you, for a minute, and show myself; which is probably the best I can do... All I have felt the imperative conviction to say I have already printed in my books of poems or prose... And so, hail and farewell. Deeply acknowledging this deep compliment, with my best respects and love to you personally -- to Camden -- to New-Jersey, and to all represented here -- you must excuse me from any word further.

In addition to a poem written by Ernest Rhys for the occasion, there are 38 letters from such as Mark Twain, William Morris, John G. Whittier, W.D. Howells, John Burroughs and William Rossetti.

1000 copies were printed. This is a bright, near-fine copy (light rubbing at the extremities). Myerson D17. Item #15260

Price: $850.00

See all items in Nonfiction
See all items by