The Last Leaf, Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1895, Very Good

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Oliver Wendell Holmes, George Wharton Edwards (Illustrator), and F. Hopkinson Smith (Illustrator). Houghton, Mifflin & Co.,1895 

 

Very Good, 8vo, 8" x 5 1/4." Printed by the Riverside Press. Gray cloth-covered boards backed with white cloth. Gilt lettering to front cover and spine. Gilt decoration on front cover. Top edge gilt. Covers have a darkened spine, slight wear to edges, and a slight lean toward the fore-edge if laid flat, else clean and intact. Binding a bit loose but pages still holding. Pages have light, occasional foxing throughout, else clean and intact. Black-and-white plates and illustrations. 55 pp., including plates. A beautiful book containing a poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894), an American Fireside Poet. Illustrated by two noted American artists, George Wharton Edwards 1859-1950) and F. Hopkinson Smith (1838-1915). _The Last Leaf_ was written in 1830 and was the last poem Holmes wrote in his breakout year as a poet. The poem was inspired by a local man, Thomas Melvill (also, Melville; 1751-1832), who, at the time of Holmes writing the poem, was one of the last surviving members (if not the last) to have participated in the Boston Tea Party and American Revolutionary War. Melvill was also one of the Sons of Liberty and achieved the rank of Major during the war. Holmes likened him to the last leaf of the season clinging onto the tree just as he held onto a life and culture of times past. Nostalgic black-and-white plates accompany the text. The book concludes with a brief history of the poem.