First Edition Points and Criteria for A Death in the Family

Year Published: 1957
Author Last Name: Agee
Author First Name: James
Publisher: McDowell Oblensky
Original Price: $3.95
Pages: 339

The first edition of this Pulitzer Prize winner was published by McDowell Oblensky in 1957. It was 339 pages long, and the original retail price was $3.95. The first edition can be identified by the following criteria: Agee died before he finished the book, so his manuscript was edited and published posthumously. The true first printing lacks any statement of printing. The first issue of the first printing is the most desireable. It has blue title letters on title page, and "Walking" for "Waking" on page 80.

A Death in the Family won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This book is also one of Time Magazine's 100 Best Novels. Other Time 100 Novels include On the Road and The Assistant

Picture of the 1957 first edition dust jacket for A Death in the Family.
Picture of the 1957 first edition dust jacket for A Death in the Family.

Picture of the first edition copyright page for A Death in the Family.
Picture of the first edition copyright page for A Death in the Family.

Picture of dust jacket where original $3.95 price is found for A Death in the Family.
Picture of dust jacket where original $3.95 price is found for A Death in the Family.

The first state of the first printing has blue printing on the title page and the
The first state of the first printing has blue printing on the title page and the "Walking" typo on page 80. The second state of the first printing has black printing on the title page and the "Walking" typo is corrected to "Waking". Later printings can also have blue printing on the title page, but they do not have the page 80 typo.

Page 80 starts with "Walking" on the first issue.  Later printings start with "Wa
Page 80 starts with "Walking" on the first issue. Later printings start with "Waking".

Identification picture of A Death in the Family.

Identification picture of A Death in the Family.

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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.