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Poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson

First British Edition, First Printing

Published by Chapman, Brothers, 121, Newgate Street, London, 1847

In contemporary, custom protective clamshell and quarter leather slipcase.

Binding A (Myerson, A.18.1.a) Does not contain errata leaf that was tipped in to some copies but not all.



This First British Edition of Emerson’s Poems once came from the personal library of Francis Joseph Hogan (January 12, 1877, Brooklyn, NY- May 15, 1944, Washington, DC). His custom book plate is pasted inside the front cover.  As written in "On the Scent", an article  by Jennifer L. Behrens for a Duke University Law School publication, in 1904, Hogan founded the law firm which became Hogan and Harston. “Hogan built his legal reputation on successfully defending such high-profile clients as oil magnate Edward Doheny in the Teapot Dome Scandal (for which he was reportedly paid $1,000,000) and philanthropist Andrew Mellon in his tax fraud trial.” Hogan began book collecting in 1931 amassing a collection that led Newsweek Magazine to write, “Frank J. Hogan, Washington’s best-known trial lawyer, collects rare books, first editions, and the scalps of government attorneys.”


Upon his death, it was Hogan’s wish that his book collection be sold at auction. He felt selling the books at auction freed him from the harassment of people who had been pursuing him to try and get him to donate his collection to their institutions where they would remain on shelves. Of his book collection, Hogan said, “I have felt profound happiness and satisfaction in possessing these precious monuments of human thought and progress. There is something sacred in the spiritual and intimate companionship of a book, and I do not deem it fitting that these friends of many happy hours should repose in unloved and soulless captivity. Rather, I would send them out into the world again to be the intimates of others whose loving hands and understanding hearts will fill the place left vacant by my passing.”    Source:


Condition Notes

Quarter Leather Slipcase: Good Condition. Dark navy leather has faded in places to a lighter blue. Blue cloth covered boards are faded around the edges (consistent with the box being stored next to a smaller book). One large boomerang-shaped scuff on cover and several other shelf wear marks overall. Couple places of chipping to the leather on the box spine. Spine design has four raised bands and beautifully embossed gold-colored lettering that is crisp, clean, and strikingly readable.


Inner cloth-covered board shell: Good Condition. Blue cloth covered boards are sun faded in the area that faced out of the box. Attached cloth pull-ribbon is frayed on edges but remains easily usable for smooth removal of book out of box.


Book: Fair Condition. Crack in the joint of the front cover and spine exposing the paper below. The cover remains securely attached but is starting to loosen. Several small tears in cloth over back cover joint at spine. Back cover also remains secure.  Green cloth covered boards have faded over time to brown in some places. Spine and front cover are embossed with gold gilt designs and lettering. Gilt remains crisp, bright and nicely readable. Some bumping to corners, particularly on the bottom. Scuff marks and general age-soiling overall. Inside, the binding is fair to good. At page 48, the signature is cracked with complete exposure of hinges for the preceding section. Pages in this section remain securely bound. The rest of the binding is very good throughout. Several pencil marks next to a few poems.

Rear Ads dated November 16th, 1846.


An ironic possibility: Both British and American publishing records reveal several conflicting dates for the actual publication of this book (BAL 5210 and 5211). It is strongly possible that this UK First Edition/First printing was printed a month before the American edition, making the first book-appearance of Emerson’s “The Concord Hymn” appear in England.  (Ironic as the poem was about the April 19, 1775, Battle at the North Bridge in Concord when the Militia intentionally fired upon the King’s Troops). This might have pleased Emerson’s grandfather, Concord’s “Patriot Minister” William Emerson who was at the North Bridge during the battle, but perhaps not the English monarchy now ruling over a smaller Kingdom in 1847.



Myerson, 18.1.a, BAL 5210 & 5211. 

Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson

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