SOME FIRST EDITIONS OF ROBERT FROST - a 1937 bookseller catalogue of early works by and about Frost well before he became "the most highly esteemed American poet of the twentieth century"
SOME FIRST EDITIONS OF ROBERT FROST - a 1937 bookseller catalogue of early works by and about Frost well before he became "the most highly esteemed American poet of the twentieth century"
SOME FIRST EDITIONS OF ROBERT FROST - a 1937 bookseller catalogue of early works by and about Frost well before he became "the most highly esteemed American poet of the twentieth century"
SOME FIRST EDITIONS OF ROBERT FROST - a 1937 bookseller catalogue of early works by and about Frost well before he became "the most highly esteemed American poet of the twentieth century"

SOME FIRST EDITIONS OF ROBERT FROST - a 1937 bookseller catalogue of early works by and about Frost well before he became "the most highly esteemed American poet of the twentieth century"

Brookline, Massachusetts: Thomas B. Hitchcock, 1937. This remarkable little item is a bookseller’s catalogue titled “SOME FIRST EDITIONS OF ROBERT FROST AND OTHER MATERIAL FOR FROST COLLECTORS”. What renders this catalogue noteworthy is the date – 1937. This was more than a quarter of a century before Frost died, in the year he was to win the third of his eventual four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry, only half way through the literary career that began with the 1913 publication of A Boy’s Will, and well before he had become “the most highly esteemed American poet of the twentieth century”.

The wire-stitched catalogue of bookseller “Thomas B. Hitchcock” of “Brookline, Mass.” measures 5.125 x 8.125 inches (13 x 20.6 cm) bound in and printed on heavy cream stock consisting of 16 pages (including the wraps). The contents offer 65 numbered items, each individually priced, with a list of the American editions of Frost’s works on the rear cover spanning A Boy’s Will (1915) to A Further Range (1936). Condition is near-fine, the catalogue complete with no loss, tears, or appreciable wear. A little soiling of the wraps covers and some surface rust to the intact, original binding staples are the only defects worthy of report.

The catalogue intrigues in a number of ways. Of course the catalogue materially substantiates early collector interest in Frost. It also eloquently testifies to the value of worthy books as a long-term investment. Many of us would be quite pleased to buy the “first issue of the first printing…” of A Boy’s Will, “A very fine copy in the original cloth binding, with its unmistakable pebbled, bronze finish.” It was offered for “$160.00” – a single digit percentage of its market value today. Not incidental is the bibliographic value of this catalogue. Following a compelling list of “BOOKS BY ROBERT FROST (Items 1-21), there is an extensive offering of MISCELLANEOUS APPEARANCES” (items 22-31) of Frost’s work in various publications, “BIOGRAPHICAL OR CRITICAL” works (Items 32-44), and finally “FIRST PRINTINGS IN PERIODICALS” (Items 45-65). The catalogue is a lovely historical window and a positively tantalizing trove for a Frost collector.

Iconic American poet and four-time Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Lee Frost (1874-1963), the quintessential poetic voice of New England, was actually born in San Francisco and first published in England. When Frost was eleven, his newly widowed mother moved east to Salem, New Hampshire. There Frost swiftly found his poetic voice, infused by New England scenes and sensibilities. Promising as both a student and writer, Frost nonetheless dropped out of both Dartmouth and Harvard, supporting himself and a young family by teaching and farming.

Ironically, a 1912 move to England with his wife and children – “the place to be poor and to write poems” – finally catalyzed his recognition as a noteworthy American poet. The manuscript of A Boy’s Will was completed in England and published by David Nutt in 1913. A convocation of critical recognition, introduction to other writers, and creative energy supported the English publication of Frost’s second book, North of Boston, in 1914, after which “Frost’s reputation as a leading poet had been firmly established in England, and Henry Holt of New York had agreed to publish his books in America.”

Accolades met his return to America at the end of 1914 and by 1917 a move to Amherst “launched him on the twofold career he would lead for the rest of his life: teaching whatever “subjects” he pleased at a congenial college… and “barding around,” his term for “saying” poems in a conversational performance.” (ANB) By 1924 he had won the first of his eventual four Pulitzer Prizes for poetry (1931, 1937, and 1943). Frost spent the final decade and a half of his life as “the most highly esteemed American poet of the twentieth century” with a host of academic and civic honors to his credit. Two years before his death he became the first poet to read in the program of a U.S. Presidential inauguration (Kennedy, January 1961). Item #006263

Price: $300.00

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