Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Literature > 203. Walt Whitman

203.  Walt Whitman (1819-1892).  Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn, New York: 1855. RBML

The Moncure D. Conway copy of the first edition, first issue, of Leaves of Grass is autographed by Whitman on the title-page. Laid into the volume is the holograph letter from Whitman to Conway, July 21, 1870, stating that "a verbatim copy of Emerson's note" is being sent. The note referred to, copied entirely in Whitman's handwriting, also accompanies the volume; it is Emerson's well-known letter of July 21, 1855, in which he praises Leaves of Grass in the highest terms and greets Whitman "at the beginning of a great career." Moncure D. Conway (1832-1907), a Virginian by birth, gave up the ministry because of his anti-slavery pronouncements. He did his most important work as an editor in Boston, where he conducted The Dial and The Commonwealth.

Gift of Solton and Julia Engel, 1957

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