H  A  R  V  E  S  T   O  F   Y  O  U  T  H
Scroll Press, Howe, Oklahoma, 1930. 88 pp.
 
  Harvest of Youth  
  Harvest of Youth was Jesse Stuart’s first published book with 81 poems. He used a vanity press, which reportedly printed an edition of fifty copies with0ut a dust jacket. Stuart gave away a few copies, like the one above, but he was so dissatisfied with this first effort in publishing that he kept two copies for himself and burned the rest. He swore that he would never use a vanity press again. Stuart later wrote about his experience in Honest Confession of a Literary Sin. Because of the few surviving copies, this is Jesse Stuartís rarest book. In 1973 he wrote that “only seven people have copies” (Letter to Richard Mohr, 7 Apr. 1973). If he included the two copies he had in the seven, that would suggest of the fifty copies printed, only seven survived; if Stuart did not include his copies, then only nine copies survived. There are six known copies in private or public institutions: Stuartís two personal copies are now owned by the Jesse Stuart Foundation, and the following libraries  have single copies: University of Kentucky, Murray State University, University of South Carolina, and Marshall University. This suggests that there may be a few still in private hands.

The above book’s provenance is: Presented to Virgil Leon Sturgill by Jesse Stuart in 1930; sold to Richard Mohr of International Bookfinders, Inc., in 1973; acquired by Marshall University Library in 1975.

The undated inscription, actually an unpublished poem written by Stuart, is addressed to Virgil Leon Sturgill, a well-known regional musician and poet, who was famous for his love of Appalachian music.  Stuart added a postscript to his original inscription in 1968, some 38 years later.  Sturgill was born in 1897 and died in 1981.
 

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