[preceding the 4-vol. UK edition?] A Novel. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1876. 4 pp preliminary undated ads, plus 4+8 pp terminal ads headed "April Book-List." Original very light brown decorative wrappers (with the date "April 1876" on the rear wrapper).
First Edition (likely preceding the four-volume English edition, but sharing the spotlight with an edition by Porter & Coates of Philadelphia, as both American editions were published at noon on May 17, 1876). With the serial format dying (following the death of its champion Dickens in mid-1870), Chapman & Hall experimented with issuing THE PRIME MINISTER in eight monthly five-shilling parts from Nov 1875 through June 1876; they then published it in four cloth-bound volumes -- in "May 1876" according to Sadleir, but "on June 12th, 1876" according to Smith. Curiously, Porter & Coates paid Harper 175 pounds for advance sheets and the right to publish simultaneously -- which they did. P&C came out with copies in paper wrappers at 75 cents, in cloth at $1.25, and in fancier cloth at $1.50. Harper issued the novel only in wrappers (as here), and at a price lower than usual -- due undoubtedly to its unusual arrangement with P&C; Harper's price would go even lower, as later copies were bound up in light green wrappers priced at 60 cents.~This copy is exactly as described by Smith (as it should be: it bears his penciled signature on the first interior leaf). Condition is very good-plus, moderately soiled but with relatively little wear for such a fragile, thick volume (252 pages of text): there is minor edge-wear including a fore-corner bearing a little cellotape on the inside, and the printed spine, though having a narrow vertical crack, is complete except for just 1/3-inch at each end. We have never before had this Harper edition in wrappers. Item #13838