Song of Myself

Book and pictures courtesy of Dick Blacher. Note and commentary courtesy of Paul Jackson.

Song of Myself

by Walt Whitman, 1904

Presentation Copy

This book measures 8 3/4" x 6 3/4" and has 70 pages. It was printed on Dickinson hand made paper in two colors and the text body is McFarland. The regular unlimited edition was bound in suede with at least one (seen above) bound in 3/4 alligator textured leather, an edition of 100 was bound in 3/4 leather with Japan Vellum pages, additionally some of the regular edition were printed on Whatman paper and bound in modeled leather. Some copies of all versions have illuminated title pages.

Note: This book was presented to the Honorable George Washington Aldridge who was born in Michigan City, LaPorte County Ind., Dec. 28, 1856. He was a son of George Washington Aldridge and Virginia Aldridge, natives of Chazy, Clinton County, N.Y. His father was a prominent contractor and railroad builder, and it was while he was constructing a railway in the State of Indiana that George was born.  In 1879 at the age of 23 he was elected to the Executive Board in Rochester NY which was in charge of all public works. Mr. Aldridge was re-elected 5 times nad held this position until 1884 when as the Republican nominee in a Democratic city; he was elected Mayor of Rochester, N.Y.  From 1895 to 1899 he was the Superintendent of Public Works of the State of New York. Additionally, he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1916 and 1920. In 1910 he was a candidate for U.S. Representative for the state of New York. He was the U.S. Collector of Customs for the Port of New York from 1921 until his untimely death from a heart attack while golfing at the Biltmore Country Club on June 13, 1922 in Rye N.Y.During his life he was a member of the Freemasons, Sons of the American Revolution, Odd Fellows, Elks, and the Knights of Pythias.

Upon his death President Harding sent a telegraph message to his wife the former Mary Mack (c.1855-1935) saying, "I have learned with great sorrow of the death of your husband. He was my good friend, an able public official and an admirable citizen. If sympathy will aid you in meeting your grief, please know that Mrs. Harding and I deeply feel your bereavement." He was buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, N.Y. following his funeral where N.Y. Governor Miller, Senators Wadsworth and Calder, Republican National Committeeman for N.Y. Charles D. Hilles, George A. Glynn and William L. Ward leader of Westchester County were pallbearers.

Richard Gardiner who gave this Book to Mr. Aldridge was an assemblyman from Monroe County on Nov 09 1898 when Col. Teddy Roosevelt was elected Governor of New York. He was a Republican who represented the 3rd Assembly District of Monroe County. He was born in Rochester New York on 06 Nov 1867. In 1892 he became a member of the board of education for the 2nd ward in Rochester. In April 1892 he resigned that position to become the “Overseer of the Poor of Rochester.” He held that position for 6 years. In 1898 he was elected to the Assembly in the 3rd assembly District of Monroe County. In the 1899 Assembly he was a member of the Taxation and Retrenchment, Claims and Federal Relations committees. In 1900 he was appointed a member in the following committees; Electricity, Gas and Water Supply and Public Health.
In 1901 he became the Chairman of the Committee on Unfinished Business and a member of the Electricity, Gas and Water Supply and Public Health committees.

| Home |   | 1904 |