American, Baker-Andrew, Boston, engraved, environmentalism, first edition, Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), individualism, John G. Chandler, lithography, nature, S. W. Chandler & Bro., Samuel W. Chandler, self-reliance, Sophia E. Thoreau (1819-1876), Ticknor and Fields, title page, vignette, Walden, Walden Pond, wood engraving
Embraced today as a precursor of the modern environmentalist movement, Walden is one of the most celebrated examples of American individualism and self-reliance. Thoreau’s writing emphasizes an appreciation of nature for itself rather than as a resource to be exploited – a sharp departure from the prevailing economic and religious views of the period. The engraved plan of Walden Pond inserted at page 307 was drawn by Thoreau, a professional surveyor, and lithographed by S. W. Chandler & Bro. (Samuel W. & John G. Chandler) of Boston. The vignette of Thoreau’s hut on the title-page was engraved in wood by the firm of Baker-Andrew after a sketch by Sophia E. Thoreau (1819-1876), the author’s youngest sister. Sophia adored her brother, encouraging and aiding him during his lifetime and later serving as his literary executor. Unfortunately, as an artist she was not particularly talented. Her sketch has been condemned as a feeble version of the actual structure. Eight pages of publisher’s ads (dated May, 1854) inserted between back endpapers. Original brown vertically-ribbed cloth, stamped in blind, spine ruled in blind and lettered in gilt. Original yellow coated endpapers. Edition of two thousand copies.