Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. [In Two Volumes.] Illustrated from Drawings by F.O.C. Darley and John Gilbert. New York: James G. Gregory, 1861. Original dark green cloth.

Very early American Edition -- the first to deposit copies at the Library of Congress -- of one of Dickens's most-loved novels (being volumes of the "Household Edition"). There has been much controversy over which is the first American edition -- this edition by Gregory, or Peterson's edition. This Gregory edition was long regarded as the first American edition, but Walter Smith's 2012 bibliography of Dickens's American editions gives the honor to Peterson's edition in wrappers, with considerable information on this controversy...

On November 15, 1860, Harper entered a copyright for the book, and then serialized the tale in Harper's Weekly beginning on November 24 and ending on August 3, 1861 (however, there is no book edition published by Harper in 1861, as they sold the book rights to Peterson). On August 26, barely three weeks later (and about seven weeks after the English three-decker was published), James Gregory of New York entered a two-volume set for copyright (having undoubtedly set the type from the Harper serialization). Peterson of Philadelphia did not enter his one-volume edition at the LofC until November 8th, almost three months later. But, according to Smith, Peterson's edition in wrappers was actually in the public's hands by late July (and copies in cloth by early August), while Gregory's did not actually hit the streets until September. So although Gregory's was the first edition to deposit copies at the Library of Congress, Peterson's was the first "published" -- put into the hands of the public.

The earliest Gregory volumes (as here) bear only his name as publisher on the title pages; on later copies this was replaced by the imprint of Sheldon and Company. Each volume includes a frontispiece plate by F.O.C. Darley, with protective tissue (the UK edition was not illustrated).

These volumes are in near-fine condition (cloth a little dusty, but there is none of the usual bubbling of the cloth, frequently a problem with these Household Edition volumes; there is virtually no wear and the original pale-yellow endpapers are clean and intact). Smith pp 379-380; also see Podeschi (Gimbel) D38. Item #15004

Price: $1,150.00

See all items in Fiction (19th Century)
See all items by