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Death’s Valley (To Accompany a Picture by Request)

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Death’s Valley (To Accompany a Picture by Request)


  • Used
  • Hardcover
  • first
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Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Santa Barbara, California, United States
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About This Item

N.p: (Privately Printed), (1889). First Edition. Original broadside of a Walt Whitman poem privately printed for Whitman’s own use, and which exists in only in this one copy, and as such this unique copy was examined by the Whitman bibliographers and has its own assigned number in the Bibliography of American Literature, BAL 21534A. A single leaf measuring 13 1/2 by 9 3/4 inches printed on the recto only. The broadside is hand-corrected by Whitman with additional words, and extensive repunctuation. On the verso, Whitman has handwritten the title along the left margin. A little chipping to the left and bottom margins, some expert and minor reinforcement to three horizontal creases on the blank verso from once having been folded, very good condition. Enclosed in a very handsome morocco and cloth clamshell box. Walt Whitman offered the poem for publication to Harper’s on August 30, 1889 (see Whitman’s correspondence, numbers 2100-2102, and, Daybooks and Notebooks, 1978, pp. 525, 530, and 532). The poem was eventually published by Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in April 1892, and collected in Leaves of Grass in 1897. The poem is a moving reflection on death as Whitman ages and looks back on his past and present encounters with death, including his service as a nurse during the Civil War. “Nay, do not dream, designer dark, / thou hast portrayed or hit thy theme entire: / I, hoverer of late by this dark valley, by its confines, having glimpses of it, / Here enter lists with thee, claiming my right to make a symbol too. / For I have seen many wounded soldiers die / After dread suffering-have seen their lives pass off with smiles: / And I have watch’d the death hours of the old - and seen the infant die, / The rich, with all his nurses and his doctors / And then the poor in meagreness and poverty; / And I myself for long, O Death, have breathed my every breath. / Amid the nearness and the silent thought of thee. / And out of these and thee, / I make a scene, a song, brief (not fear of thee, / Nor gloom’s ravines, nor bleak, nor dark - for I do not fear thee, Nor celebrate the struggles, or contortion, or hard-tied knot), / of the broad blessed light and perfect air, with meadows, rippling tides, and / trees and flowers and grass, / And the low hum of living breeze, and in the midst God’s beautiful eternal / right hand, / Thee, holiest minister of heaven - thee, envoy, usherer guide at last of all, / Rich, florid, loosener of the stricture-knot call’d life, Sweet, peaceful, welcome Death.”


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James Pepper Rare Books, Inc. US (US)
Bookseller's Inventory #
Death’s Valley (To Accompany a Picture by Request)
Book Condition
(Privately Printed)
Place of Publication
Date Published

Terms of Sale

James Pepper Rare Books, Inc.

We accept VISA, Mastercard, personal checks, and money orders issued on US Banks. If paying by credit card, please supply the card number, expiration date, and a daytime phone number. We guarantee all items to be as described. We accept returns for any reason, with notification within three days of your receipt of the order. All returns must be shipped insured. Shipping is: $7.00 first item, $1.00 each additional. Foreign orders will be shipped at cost. California residents please add 7.25% sales tax.

About the Seller

James Pepper Rare Books, Inc.

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since 2005
Santa Barbara, California
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About James Pepper Rare Books, Inc.

We are long-term members of the Antiquarian Bookseller's Association of America. We specialize in American & English Literature, Mystery & Detective Fiction, Rare Cinema Material, Autograph & Signed Material, and an Eclectic Offering of Literature & Ephemera.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet...
The page bound on the left side of a book, opposite to the recto page.
Bibliography of American Literature (commonly abbreviated as BAL in descriptions) is the quintessential reference work for any...
A defect in which small pieces are missing from the edges; fraying or small pieces of paper missing the edge of a paperback, or...
A new book is a book previously not circulated to a buyer. Although a new book is typically free of any faults or defects, "new"...
The page on the right side of a book, with the term Verso used to describe the page on the left side.
Clamshell Box
A protective box designed for storing and preserving a bound book or loose sheets. A clamshell box is hinged on one side, with...
Morocco is a style of leather book binding that is usually made with goatskin, as it is durable and easy to dye. (see also...
A book with significant wear and faults. A poor condition book is still a reading copy with the full text still readable. Any...

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