The Columbian Ode
A3 Monroe, Harriet. The Columbian Ode. Chicago: W. Irving Way & Company, 1893.
Chicago poet Harriet Monroe (26 Dec 1860 – 26 Sep 1936) is best known as the founding publisher and long-time editor of Poetry magazine, which made its debut in 1912 and contributed to the modern ‘poetry renaissance’ of the early twentieth century. Having solidified her professional reputation as a freelance correspondent to the Chicago Tribune and through a widening circle of prominent literary acquaintances, Monroe was commissioned to write a commemorative ode for the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America.
‘She reveled in her poem, more than two years in the works, when 5,000 people joined in at an auditorium dedication ceremony at the Columbian Exposition.’ Monroe enjoyed even more fame after suing the New York World for publishing The Columbian Ode without her consent. She was awarded $5,000 dollars in a settlement that benefited artists.
Chicago: self-published, 1892.
First edition not by Bradley. Harriet Monroe explained that she “prepared a pamphlet edition of the poem for sale at a quarter each, and five thousand copies did not seem too many for the oversanguine author and her advisors.”
“The Western News Company undertook to sell it, but found the dealers unresponsive,” Monroe later wrote. “So all that winter I used the ode for fuel in the little stove which heated my bedroom-study…”
Ref: Monroe, pg 131; Bambace, A3; Lindsay, A3a.
Chicago: W. Irving Way & Company, 1893.
The Chicago poet’s second book, sold as a souvenir at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. Bradley’s first cover design. The covers, title-page and initial letters in the text are the work of Will Bradley.
Coll: 5 5/8" w. x 7" h.
Binding: Two-color, deckle-edged pictorial wrappers. Cover printed in plum and red inks on cream paper: SOUVENIR EDITION | THE | COLVMBIAN ODE | BY | HARRIET MONROE | [unsigned]
Digital holdings: Archive.org.
Ref: Monroe, pg 131; Kraus, pp. 3, 40; Bambace, A3; Lindsay, A3b.
Cite: Monroe, Harriet. The Columbian ode. Souvenir edition. Chicago: W. Irving Way & Company, 1893.