A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Boston and Cambridge: James Munroe, 1849
12mo (7 3/4 x 4 7/8 in.; 197 x 125 mm). Some internal wear, initial blank with inscription browned, engraved portrait of Thoreau affixed to initial blank opposite title, advertisement leaf and final blank detached but present. Later buckram, morocco gilt-lettering-piece on spine; worn and rubbed, front free endpaper missing, rear endpaper detached, Copley bookplate on front pastedown. Half blue morocco slipcase, chemise; some fading.
First edition, first issue of Thoreau's first book, inscribed by Thoreau in pencil on the recto of an initial blank: "Henry D. Thoreau, Concord Mass"; verso signed in pencil by Theo Brown, one of Thoreau's close friends in Worcester, Mass. Also with a few minor corrections in Thoreau's hand.
This work fared poorly: of the 1000 copies printed, 706 were returned to the author.
Theo Brown was "a tailor and wit of [Worcester] whom Thoreau met in 1849," the year he published A Week on the Concord at his own expense. "On his occasional visits to Worcester, Thoreau would sit in the back window of Brown's tailor shop at the corner of Main and Pearl streets, 'fashioning the habiliments of the soul, while near him Theo would calmly contrive cutting out habiliments for the wear of the body, and Harry Blake, with eyes glistening with delight behind his gold-bowed glasses, would follow the arguments of each.'" (Richardson, quoting Mary Thacker Higginson).
An important copy of key work of American literature, signed by the author and the recipient.
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