[the American serial parts] [In 20-parts-in-19.] New York: John Wiley [Parts 1-11 plus Part 19/20; G. P. Putnam, Parts 12-18], 1849-1850. Original light tan wrappers.
First American Edition in serial parts (one of two such editions). In 1849-1850 both Lea & Blanchard of Philadelphia, and John Wiley / G.P. Putnam of New York (as here), issued DAVID COPPERFIELD in parts, derived from the English parts then coming out. (As Walter Smith points out, the front wrapper of the first two parts states "This edition is re-printed from proof sheets received by special arrangement from the London Publishers" -- but no such "arrangement" in writing has ever been found.) John Wiley of New York issued the first ten parts under his imprint, the next eight bore the imprint of G.P. Putnam, and the final double number bore the Wiley imprint again. (As Podeschi points out, the publisher imprint on Parts 12-18 varies, because when Putnam took over he used some of Wiley's old un-numbered wrappers -- but in this set, all seven do bear the Putnam imprint.)~The English serial parts had 40 plates by H.K. Browne ("Phiz") -- two per part. In the Wiley / Putnam parts, the first part reads "Illustrated by H.K. Browne" while the others read "The illustrations engraved on wood by J.W. Orr [& Brother], from designs by H.K. Browne." According to Wilkins these Orr plates were "much better drawn and engraved than those in the Philadelphia edition." A complete set of Wiley / Putnam parts contains 36 plates, not 40: for the first two parts, Wiley had great difficulty getting plates engraved in time to accompany their corresponding text; therefore, he issued Part 3 withOUT plates, and beginning with that part the wrapper states "The illustrations for this No. will be given with the next.". Thus Part 19/20 has the two plates that go with the text of Part 18, and that final part's wrapper states "The FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS for this Number will be furnished to Subscribers, Gratis, in a few days."~After serialization, Wiley published an 1850 two-volume edition (with all 40 plates); curiously, Lea & Blanchard did not publish a book edition until 1851. (Incidentally the actual "first American edition," i.e. the first to appear in its entirety in America, was Burgess's single-volume one in wrappers with only eight illustrations -- ironically Burgess set his text from, and copied the plates in Wiley's parts.)~This set is in very good-plus, perhaps near-fine condition: the wrappers have minor edge-wear and some fragile spines have some slight chipping, but the parts are COMPLETE and include all the proper wrappers. Many of the front wrappers include the signature of the same (undoubtedly first) owner of these parts -- in some cases inscribing them on to someone else, and in two cases adding a brief observation, namely "Good!" and "David commits Matrimony!". It is no exaggeration that one sees a hundred sets of English serial parts for every single set of American serial parts. Smith (American Dickens) pp 284-294 (this set -- see one of the above inscriptions in the photo on p. 284); Podeschi (Yale) A123; Carr (UTexas) B221; Wilkins p. 29. Item #12589