Sought-after handwritten manuscript contained within the first volume of the 1906 ‘manuscript edition’ of Thoreau’s works, one page both sides, 7.5 x 9.5, apparently being his journal entry from August 24, 1854. In part: “They appeared to suffer more than any trees, except the white ash. Their leaves (and also those of the alders, hickories and grapes, and even oaks more or less) were so curled on the upper 3/4 of the trees, that their foliage had a singularly glaucous hue. Seen at a distance in rows along the river, they had somewhat of the same effect with the silvered tip of the swamp white oak. The sight suggested a strong wind constantly blowing and turning up their leaves. I went ashore & felt of them. They were more or less crisped & curled permanently. It suggested that, to a slight extent, occurs every year. On the Cliffs, so many young trees & bushes were withered, that from the river, it looked as if a fire had run over them.” The sheet is professionally inlaid into a larger sheet, which was subsequently bound into the first volume of the twenty-volume set The Writings of Henry David Thoreau. Manuscript edition, limited issue, numbered 555/600. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1906. Hardcover, 6.25 x 9, 435 pages. The other volumes of the set are not included. Book condition: G+/None, with ex-library labels and markings. Autographic condition: very good, with possible reinforcement to a long diagonal crease, and old tape repairs to splitting along the central horizontal fold.
Fifty years after Thoreau’s death in 1862, his manuscripts passed through a few hands until they were inherited by E. Harlow Russell. He then negotiated with publisher Houghton Mifflin to sell the literary rights of Thoreau’s unpublished journals, also selling at least six-hundred pages of his original manuscripts to the firm. These were then broken up and included, one page at a time, in the first book of each copy of this enormous twenty-volume limited ‘manuscript edition’ set. This example resembles the published versions of his journal from August 1854, but does not correspond exactly as the compilers took editorial liberties. Offering outstanding observations on nature, this is an ideal Thoreau piece of the utmost desirability. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.