Our shops are open and we are processing online, telephone and email orders as normal

FROST, Robert.

A Boy's Will.

London: David Nutt, 1913 Stock Code: 146535
Reserve Ask us a question

An exceptional presentation copy of Frost's first book

First edition, first impression, of Frost's first published book, an exceptional presentation copy, inscribed by him to fellow Dymock poet Wilfrid W. Gibson on the front free endpaper, "W.W.G. from R.F. Sept. 1913", perhaps on the occasion they first met, when Frost gave a poetry reading at Harold Monro's newly-opened Poetry Bookshop.

When A Boy's Will was published in March 1913, Gibson was a poet of some standing and Frost a relative unknown; the two had not yet met, though Frost had read Gibson's Daily Bread (1910) and Fires (1912) with keen interest. Gibson wrote to Frost, inviting him to come to the Poetry Bookshop with some of his new poems. Frost gave a poetry reading there on 18 September, and the occasion inspired Gibson's poem "The First Meeting". In it, Gibson suggests that Frost "had presented his poems to him unsolicited" (Francis, p. 80). "By Christmas 1913, Frost had come to believe that 'Gibson is my best friend... He's just one of the plain folks with none of the marks of the literary poseur about him - none of the wrongheadedness of the porfessional literary men'" (ibid.). The following year Gibson convinced Frost to move to Dymock, and was key in connecting him to the other Dymock poets: Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas, John Drinkwater, and Lascelles Abercrombie; immediately before the move, Frost wrote to Sidney Marsh confessing "I have no friend here like Wilfrid Gibson" (March 1914).

Of roughly 1,000 copies of the first edition, approximately 280 were issued by Nutt in bindings "A" (as in the present copy) and "B" (bound in cream boards), before the company went into bankruptcy after the First World War. Copies in the first issue in the primary binding are uncommon, and presentation copies of such literary magnitude are rare.

Provenance: Wilfrid W. Gibson (1878-1962); William E. Stockhausen (sold at Sothebys, 14 December 1974, lot 704).

Confused? Read our glossary


Octavo. Original bronze pebbled cloth, front cover lettered in gilt, edges untrimmed. Housed in a custom cloth chemise and slipcase by James MacDonald, New York.


A near-fine copy, spine lightly faded, tips a touch rubbed, contents very lightly foxed, else clean.


Crane A2; Robert Frost, Robert Frost 100, 1974. Lesley Lee Francis, Robert Frost: An Adventure in Poetry, 1900-1918, Taylor & Francis, 2017.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book