Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lothrop. Lee and Shepard- First Edition or Not

Generally, if a book says copyright 1903 and on the same page it says -"published August, 1903" a reasonable deduction would be that the book is a 1903 book. Well, with Lothrop, Lee and Shepard series books the deduction may be reasonable but the conclusion may very well be wrong.

It appears that Lothrop, Lee and Shepard published numerous series books where this scenario is just the case.

Here are several examples. The first comes from a book by Albertus Dudley, Following the Ball. It is part of the Phillips Exeter Series. I have three copies of this book. Each of the covers is slightly different but the copyright pages are identical. It is shown here. Two of my copies were published by Lothrop, Lee and Shepard. This instantly dates these books from 1905 or later. The third book has Lee and Shepard 1903 on the title page indicating this one is the true first. In addition the ads are different for all three. But to a person not knowing the history of the publishing house any of the three might be listed as a first edition.

You think not. Doubters please look at this ad taken today from ABE. In fact most of the books in this series are advertised as first editions on ABE although most likely
only a couple of them really are.

Following the Ball
Dudley, Albertus T.

Book Description: Lothrop, Lee, and Shepard, Boston, MA U.S,A, 1903. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Good+. No Jacket. Charles Copeland (illustrator). First Edition. 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall. Gray cloth, gilt lettering, blue red and black decoration of boys playing football, frontis repeats cover graphics w 3 additional b&w illustrations, mild cover soils and ink along board edges, worn football decoration on spine, spine somewhat rolled, minimum of library artifacts (catalog number on copyright page, book infor on rep and small stampon rear cover, 316 plus 6 pp. advertisements.

Here is another example. This one comes from the Rolt-Wheeler U. S. Service Series. Both of my copies of The Boy with the U.S. Life savers have the published August, 1915 date on their copyright page. Yet one has ads that go to the previously published book in 1914 whereas the ads in the other book go to the penultimate book in the series published in 1927. Again the latter book could be easy to mistake for a first edition if the seller is unfamiliar with the series.

I have seen this pattern with numerous Lothrop, Lee and Shepard series books including those written by Stratemeyer, Tomlinson, etc.

The buyer/collector needs to study the ads before determining the edition.

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