First Edition Points and Criteria for The Way West

Year Published: 1949
Author Last Name: Guthrie
Author First Name: A B
Publisher: William Sloane Associates
Original Price: $3.50
Pages: 340

"First Printing" and "Manufactured in the United States of America" is stated on the copyright page with no mention of the press that printed the book. Boards are battleship gray with a blue/green cloth spine.

Note: There are (at least) two varieties of book club editions. Both lack a price on the dust jacket, but identifying the book itself is a little tricky. The first book club variety states "First Printing" on the copyright page, but it then states that it was printed by the Kingsport Press. The boards are the same color as the true first, but it has a small depression on the bottom right back of the boards (near the spine). The second variety also states "First Printing" on the copyright page and no mention of the printing press, but it says "Printed" rather than "Manufactured" in the United States of America, and the boards are different. It has light gray boards with a blue cloth spine, and "RD 7 W" is printed on the gutter of the last page (near the spine).

The first edition dust jacket has a $3.50 price on the upper corner of the front flap. The reprints we have seen look nearly identical to the true first, but have no price printed. We have noticed that some reprint jackets are 2/16 of an inch shorter than true first jackets; and we have also noticed that the art on the spine of some reprints are cropped a quarter inch more on the left than the art on our true first editions (see bottom photo for more details).

The Way West won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Picture of the 1949 first edition dust jacket for The Way West.
Picture of the 1949 first edition dust jacket for The Way West.

Picture of the first edition copyright page for The Way West.
Picture of the first edition copyright page for The Way West.

Picture of dust jacket where original $3.50 price is found for The Way West.
Picture of dust jacket where original $3.50 price is found for The Way West.

Picture of the back dust jacket for the first edition of The Way West.
Picture of the back dust jacket for the first edition of The Way West.

Picture of the first edition William Sloane Associates boards for The Way West.
Picture of the first edition William Sloane Associates boards for The Way West.

Picture of the back dust jacket flap for the first edition of The Way West.
Picture of the back dust jacket flap for the first edition of The Way West.

Picture of the first edition title page for The Way West.
Picture of the first edition title page for The Way West.

The book on top is the true first edition.  It has battleship gray boards with a
The book on top is the true first edition. It has battleship gray boards with a blue/green cloth spine. The bottom one is one of at least two book club varieties, and it has light gray boards with a blue cloth spine.

The art on the spine of our reprint edition (left) is cropped a quarter inch more than
The art on the spine of our reprint edition (left) is cropped a quarter inch more than the art on our true first (right).

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Disclaimer: This website is intended to help guide you and give you insight into what to look for when identifying first editions. The information is compiled from the experience of reputable collectors and dealers in the industry. Gathering and updating information about these books is more an art than a science, and new identication criteria and points of issue are sometimes discovered that may contradict currently accepted identification points. This means that the information presented here may not always be 100% accurate. If you spot a mistake, drop us an e-mail and we will do our best to investigate and correct it.