Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1894.
First edition. Engraved frontispieces (portrait in vol. I; Dickinson home in vol. II), 3 facsimile letters; [iv], xii, 228; [viii], 229-454 pp. 2 vols. Small 8vo. Presentation Copy from Mabel Loomis Todd. Original green buckram, covers and spines stamped in gilt with Indian pipes motif (BAL's variant 1). Spine of volume I darkened with some loss of gilt, light shelfwear. Very good. Volume II supplied from another set, near fine. In custom morocco-backed slipcase and chemise. BAL 4660; Myerson A3.1.a (notes only three copies inscribed by Todd). Provenance: A.J. Lyman (his ownership inscription to flyleaf, "A.J. Lyman / Brooklyn New York," and presentation inscription from editor on half-title). Item #241630
Volume I INSCRIBED to Mabel Loomis Todd's confidant and perhaps the first independent reader of the proofs of the LETTERS, Albert Josiah Lyman: "To Dr. Lyman / from /Mabel Loomis Todd / Amherst, / 17 Decr 1894."
Todd met Lyman, minister of the South Congregational Church of Brooklyn, in February of 1894 while on a lecture tour. In a letter, dated 13 February 1894, to her ailing lover Austin Dickinson, Todd mentions with delight that "I have had an independent literary judgement on the proof of the LETTERS this morning which fills me with joy." The favorable judgement was pronounced by Lyman, who Longsworth describes as "Handsome, sympathetic, liberal in his views, and a clergyman of great pastoral power ..." (AUSTIN AND MABEL, p. 380n). After Austin Dickinson's death, "Dr. Lyman was the one [Todd] confided in and from whom she received remarkable and unorthodox consolation" (ibid). In January, 1894, Todd sent proofs of the LETTERS to every correspondent who allowed letters from Dickinson to be published (Myerson, p. 34), and it is likely that Lyman was the first independent critic of the work.
No one played a more crucial part in the early acceptance of Dickinson as a major American poet than Mabel Loomis Todd. She was the first posthumous steward of Dickinson's work, seeing the poems and letters into print for the first time. Meyerson notes only three copies of the LETTERS inscribed by Todd, all dated December, 1894. No significant inscribed copies of the LETTERS have appeared at auction in the last 30 years.
Price: $15,000.00 Free International Delivery