Hard Cover. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1942. 1st Edition. Near Fine / Dust Jacket Included.
First edition, first printing. Presentation copy, inscribed by Frost to Roberta and Gordon Chalmers on the front free endpaper: "For Roberta and Gordon / From Frost / 1942." Publisher's coarse blue cloth, with front board and spine stamped in gilt; in its original pictorial dust jacket, with tree illustration by Alan Haemer to the front panel. Near fine book, with light toning to spine, light rubbing to bottom edges of boards, and very light spotting to endpapers and pages; in a very good unclipped dust jacket, with light fading and scuffing to spine, light wear and chipping to spine ends, some edgewear to panels with a few small closed tears, tiny chip to bottom edge of rear panel, and light staining to top of rear flap fold. Overall, a great association copy. A Witness Tree is Frost's seventh book of poems, which earned him the 1943 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. The volume includes forty-two poems divided into five sections - poems like, "Never Again would the Birds' Song Be the Same," "To a Moth Seen in Winter," "The Gift Outright," and "A Nature Note." Already an established and beloved poet upon publication, the book's dust jacket correctly promised that the collection would "substantiate still further [Frost's] claim to permanence and importance." This copy is inscribed by Frost to Roberta Teale Swartz Chalmers and her husband, Gordon Keith Chalmers. Gordon served as the president of Kenyon College from 1937 until his death in 1956. Roberta, a poet who published two acclaimed books of poetry, served as an associate professor at Kenyon College from 1942-1945. The two were instrumental in the founding of The Kenyon Review literary magazine. Roberta and Gordon were close friends with Robert Frost. Roberta studied poetry under Frost while she was a student at Mount Holyoke College. Before coming to Kenyon College, Gordon was president of Rockford College, where Robert Frost's daughter, Lesley Frost, was a student. Through mutual friendship with Frost, Gordon was able to convince John Ransome Crowe to leave Vanderbilt University and join the Kenyon College faculty in 1937. Two years later, Gordon, Roberta and Crowe co-founded the Kenyon Review, with Crowe serving as the magazine's editor from 1939 to 1959. The Kenyon Review is one of the most influential literary magazines in the U.S. - its short stories have won 42 O. Henry Awards, and many of its poems have been reprinted in the Best American Poetry series. During his presidency, Gordon brought Frost to speak at Kenyon College numerous times. Notably, Frost's last public address before his death in 1963 was for the inauguration of the Chalmers Library, named in honor of Gordon, at Kenyon College. Frost made the address on October 28, 1962, and passed away just three months later, on January 29, 1963. Item #RF069