||H A R V E S T O F Y O U T H
Scroll Press, Howe, Oklahoma, 1930. 88 pp.
||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
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unpublished poem written by Stuart, is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
Stuart added a postscript to his
original inscription in 1968, some 38
years later. Sturgill was born in
1897 and died in 1981.