05 June, 2015

Steeple Bush (First Trade Edition)

BY Robert Frost
Book Information1/1/0/US/HH/1947/o.7,600  •  220x155x45  •  280

This is the first trade edition of Robert Frost's Steeple Bush published in 1947 by Henry Holt. The true first edition is the signed limited edition. The content of the limited and trade editions are identical but the latter lacks the special signature page, the colophon, and the copyright page has no mention of "First Printing". The advertisement at the back of the dust jacket indicates that the limited edition sold for $10. More curiously, it also states that the woodcuts for West-running Brook was by Thomas W. Nason instead of J. J. Lankes as recorded in Crane and in a similar advertisement on A Further Range. I wonder if this was a printing error. According to Crane, 7,600 copies of this first trade edition was printed.

This is the first trade edition first printing with first state dust jacket that is unclipped, showing the correct price of $2.50. The dust jacket was likely designed by Ronald Clyne as indicated by the facsimile name printed on the left edge of the front flap. The book is bound in green clothed board with gilt lettering in black box on spine, and has no topstain. The copyright page should state "Copyright 1947 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc." with no mention of additional pritning. 

This book is getting increasingly rare but a VG copy can be purchased from eBay or Abebooks for as low as $50, likely because this title is not one of Frost's more popular ones. This is a VG copy with a VG- dust jacket with chippings and sunning on spine, and a NF book that is tight and clean.

The only official signed edition is the true first edition. There are many association or signed copies of this trade edition, and some are priced as high as a few thousand dollars, some with very bad dust jacket. Robert Frost has a signature that is relatively easy to forge, as is his handwriting in general, so caveat emptor. If you really want a signed copy, go for the official signed edition for about $450.




The dust jacket light grey heavy paper but it is not very durable. This dust jacket is in a relatively good shape with no minor chippings at the top of the spine and the lower left corner. The spine is darkened due to sunning. The curious point here is the advertisement on the jacket back that states, contrary to earlier information, Thomas W. Nason as the artist for West-running Brook's woodcut. Is this a printing error?

The internal flap. 

The book is bounded in light blue green fine linen cloth, and the lettering at the spine is gilt.

The full title page.

Unlike the limited edition, this trade edition has no mention of "First Printing" or any additional printing on the copyright page.

Content page.

Content page.

First poem on page 3.

The final pages. Unlike the limited edition, this trade edition does not number the "Notes" page.

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