Poems on Slavery.

"And the voice of his devotion filled my soul with strange emotion; for its tones by turns were glad, sweetly solemn, wildly-sad": First Edition of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Poems on Slavery; inscribed by him

Poems on Slavery.

LONGFELLOW, Henry Wadsworth.


Item Number: 101568

Cambridge: John Owen, 1842.

First edition of Longfellow’s collection of poems published in support of the United States anti-slavery efforts. Small octavo, bound in full pebbled morocco by Bradstreet’s with gilt titles and raised bands to the spine, inner dentelles. Presentation copy, inscribed by Longfellow on the half-title page, “Rev. R. C. Waterston from the Author.” The recipient, Reverend Robert Cassie Waterston, was a noted Unitarian clergyman of Boston, the majority of his library is now housed in the Massachusetts Historical Society. In near fine condition. Bookplate. Housed in a custom clamshell box. 

Longfellow, very conscious of his public persona, published this collection of poems in support of the United States anti-slavery efforts even though he feared it would hurt him commercially. At the time of publication reviews were mixed. Contemporary critics, however, have noted that Longfellow's use of language and vivid imagery throughout the poems anticipated Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin which later helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War.

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