What’s in a Blurb?: the History of Book Blurbing takes us back to Walt Whitman who gets the credit of being the first to use a quote from a review on the cover of the second edition of Leaves of Grass:
“I greet you at the beginning of a great career.”
Leaves of Grass, now going into its second printing in 1856, had that line from [Ralph Waldo] Emerson’s letter written in gold on the spine of the book alongside the title and author’s name.
Pretty fascinating - especially as how it's such a common practice of publishing today.
Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,