New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1942. First edition, first printing, A VERY FINE ASSOCIATION COPY INSCRIBED BY ROBERT FROST, to a friend and colleague at Harvard University WITH A HANDWRITTEN POEM, SIGNED and dated by him. With portrait frontispiece from a sketch by Enit Kaufman. 8vo, original blue/green buckram lettered in gilt within a gilt framework on the upper cover and gilt lettered on the spine, in the publisher's original dustjacket. 63, notes pp. A fine copy, the book near perfect, the jacket a bit mellowed at the spine panel and with minor edge wear. FIRST EDITION, FIRST PRINTING AND A FINE AND SCARCE SIGNED ASSOCIATION COPY WITH A HANDWRITTEN POEM BY ROBERT FROST. The book is inscribed by Frost to Virginia Proctor, secretary to Harvard President James Byrant Conant. Though Frost tenure at Harvard was short, his friendship with Mrs. Proctor lasted well beyond his years in Cambridge. It was President Conant who first cited Frost as "The Poet of New England" when Frost was given an honorary degree of Litt.D. in 1937. In 1938 Frost resigned from Amherst and was elected to Harvard's Board of Overseers and that year also saw him placed in the English department at the university. Conant reappointed Frost for the years 1939 through 1942. This book was inscribed to Ms. Proctor at roughly the end of the academic year, in late April, on the 23rd, publication day of the book, during his last year at Harvard. Though Frost's formal ties with Harvard would end in that year, his association with Virginia Proctor would continue for many years following. INCLUDED WITH HIS INSCRIPTION TO PROCTOR IS THE HANDWRITTEN TWO-LINE POEM 'THE SECRET SITS', which is published on page 72 of the book. Thus, the entire inscription reads;
"We dance round in a ring and suppose / But the secret sits in the middle and knows / Robert Frost / To Virginia Proctor / April 23 1942 / Harvard
In addition to the poem Mr. Frost has penned in his inscription, A WITNESS TREE includes 44 others, including such classics as “Come In”, “The Gift Outright”, “The Lesson for Today”, “The Rabbit Hunter” and “Trespass”.