Edith Wharton and Sinclair Lewis: A New Gift

We’ve just received a gift of an Edith Wharton collection and several Sinclair Lewis first editions from Professor James Kibler of the University of Georgia. Professor Kibler is a USC alumnus and has been a good friend of our Libraries for many years, and we are very thankful to have this substantial addition to our Wharton holdings from his gift.

All of the books are in very good to fine condition, and several have dust jackets in equally good condition:

The Marriage Playground is the photoplay edition of Wharton’s The Children. Photoplay editions were brought out by publishers as early film tie-in books. They often included stills from the (silent) picture that is based on the book. Here’s the title page with a film still as a frontispiece:

Early 20th century dust jackets are scarce in general and always interesting. This one is printed on both sides and includes the full Grosset and Dunlap catalog for 1928:

The most spectacular book in this collection is this fine copy of a first edition, sixth printing of The Age of Innocence in a near-fine dust jacket:

And here is a group of Sinclair Lewis’s work. All are first editions; some are first printings and some are later printings. You can see the uniform corporate image of Harcourt, Brace and Company come through in their cloth stamped bindings. In the 20s, it was still commonplace to discard a jacket as mere “advertising” and to shelve the cloth-bound book without it, hence their relative scarcity today.


About Jeffrey Makala

The Irvin Department of Rare Books & Special Collections is located in the Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library at the University of South Carolina. The department preserves and makes accessible rare materials and special research collections supporting teaching and research across a wide range of disciplines.
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