The printings of the first edition present issues that are perhaps unresolvable. The first printing apparently occurs in two states: with or without the words “First Edition” on the copyright page. W. B. Shubrick Clymer and Charles R. Green, in Robert Frost: A Bibliography (Amherst, Mass.: The Jones Library, 1937), state that “it is generally believed that of these [9,400 copies printed] only 1,000 copies” have the edition statement. Joan St. C. Crane, Robert Frost: A Descriptive Catalogue of Books and Manuscripts in the Clifton Waller Barrett Library, University of Virginia (Charlottesville, 1974), entry A10, argues that it is more likely that the statement was originally omitted, an error rectified near the end of the print run, and copies with the statement thus constitute the second state. (It should be noted that the designation of state correctly applies only to the sheet affected — there is no way to correlate the other sheets of any given copy with any particular printing or binding order.) The copies of both states at Amherst exhibit a slightly larger leaf size (by about 1 mm) for the copies without the statement; this could be indicative of a separation of sheets into different bindings. In our classification, we have placed the copies without the statement first, following Crane, but without meaning to imply agreement with her reasoning. There may have been more than three printings, but only three have been identified from Amherst’s copies.
|First printing (November 19, 1928; on De Coverly Rag Laid paper); first state of the title leaf, without “First Edition” on the verso. 4 copies.|
* Copy 1 is inscribed by Frost for Dwight Whitney Morrow, Jr. (Class of 1933), with a six-line poem titled “The Inscription in the Desert”; the first three lines are a variant of the first three lines of “The Ingenuities of Debt”; with Morrow’s initials and bookplate; in dust jacket (spine defective). Gift of Dwight Whitney Morrow, Jr.
* Copy 2 is inscribed by Frost to E. Merrill Root (Class of 1917). Gift of Mrs. E. Merrill Root.
* Copy 3. Gift of Thomas H. Fleming.
* Copy 4 is inscribed by Frost for Hugo T. Saglio (Class of 1931), with the full text of “Tree at My Window”; with Saglio’s bookplate; in dust jacket (spine defective). Gift of Hugo T. Saglio.
|First printing (November 19, 1928; on De Coverly Rag Laid paper); second state of the title leaf, with “First Edition” on the verso. 5 copies.|
* Copy 1 is inscribed by Frost for Jack W. C. Hagstrom (Class of 1955), with 4 lines from “Sitting by a Bush in Broad Sunlight”; with Hagstrom’s ownership signature, dated February 14, 1954; in dust jacket. Gift of Jack W. C. Hagstrom.
* Copy 2 is inscribed by Frost for George Frisbie Whicher (Class of 1910); with Whicher’s bookplate; in dust jacket. Gift of George F. Whicher.
* Copy 3 is inscribed by Frost for E. Porter Dickinson, Amherst, 1929; in dust jacket. Gift of E. Porter Dickinson.
* Copy 4 is in dust jacket. Source unknown.
* Copy 5 is inscribed by Frost for Margaret Olds (Strahl), with the last two stanzas of “On Going Unnoticed,” here with the title “In Great Woods.” Gift of Margaret Olds Strahl.
|Second (?) printing (1929?; on Flemish Book wove paper). 2 copies. [Both copies are signed by Frost and dated “1932” on the front free endpaper; a signature in the same place with the same date appears in several copies of other works that remained in the stock of Holt sixty years later; he may have signed a number of books for Holt at the time.]|
* Copy 1 is signed by Frost, 1932; in dust jacket. Source unknown.
* Copy 2 is signed by Frost, 1932. Source unknown.
|Third (?) printing (March 1935; on unwatermarked wove paper, with the error “roams” corrected to “romps” in the last line of p. 44). 1 copy.|
* Copy 1. Inscribed by Frost to Jack W. C. Hagstrom (Class of 1955); with Hagstrom’s ownership signature, dated October 24, 1951. Gift of Jack W. C. Hagstrom.
Second (limited) edition
Unlike most so-called “limited editions,” which are simply separate printings on special paper or with special binding, this limited edition is completely re-set and printed by a different press. The copies were signed by Frost and numbered, and the plates (printed separately from the blocks) were signed by the illustrator, J. J. Lankes. Issued in a glassine dust jacket, in a slip-case, with a printed label on the spine and the number of the copy written in ink at the foot of the spine.
|Only printing (November 19, 1928). 5 copies.|
* Copy 1 is no. 731, with the bookplate of Jack W. C. Hagstrom (Class of 1955); in slip-case (repaired at foot). Gift of Jack W. C. Hagstrom.
* Copy 2 is no. 964, with the bookplate of George Frisbie Whicher (Class of 1910); in dust jacket, in defective slip-case. Gift of George F. Whicher.
* Copy 3 is no. 391, inscribed by Frost for Roland Wood (Class of 1920), with Wood’s bookplate; in defective slip-case. Gift of the Estate of Roland Wood.
* Copy 4 is no. 855, inscribed by Frost to E. Merrill Root (Class of 1917), Christmas 1933, with a note in pencil: “Dear Merrill: What you wrote about this reached me late and almost accidentally, but it reached me. I thought you might like to have it from me in this form. A strong fine poem of yours about the return of nature which I came across in a Sunday paper has kept my mind to you ward off and on for many days. I speak of you always with admiration and affection. Robert Frost.” Gift of E. Merrill Root.
* Copy 5 is no. 603; in dust jacket, in slip-case; one of a stock of 9 copies still in the Holt stock in 1990. Gift of Henry Holt and Co.