First Edition Points and Criteria for Babbitt

Year Published: 1922
Author Last Name: Lewis
Author First Name: Sinclair
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace and Company
Original Price: $2.00
Pages: 401

Copyright page states "Copyright, 1922, by Harcourt, Brace, and Company, Inc." with no references to subsequent printings, and "Printed in the U.S.A. by the Quinn & Boden Company Rahway, N.J." on the bottom. Boards are blue cloth with orange lettering and orange outlines. The back panel of the dust jacket is an order form for recent Harcourt books. The instructions say to "fill out this order blank and send to your bookseller," which might account for the lack of dust jackets available for this book. The publication date for Babbitt was September 14, 1922.

There were two first edition issues (or states) of Babbitt. The first issue has "Supposing Purdy" on line 4 of page 49, and "my fellow human" on line 5 of the same page. the second issue has "Supposing Lyte" on line 4, and "any fellow human" on line 5. These changes were made during the first printing. The first issue is preferred by collectors.

While the points on page 49 are alone enough to identify a first issue, there are other errors that are sometimes pointed out by book sellers. These include "Pennies" changed to "Penny" on page 271 (line 11) and "I means" changed to "I mean" on page 85 (lines 4 and 5). They are interesting corrections, but they are redundant and unnecessary for first issue identification.

All first and early editions have a dedication to Edith Wharton - it is not a first edition point. But it is interesting that Lewis decided to dedicate Babbitt to Edith Wharton. It was likely influenced by the fact that Wharton's Age of Innocence won the Pulitzer Prize over Lewis' Main Street. What made this particular award so difficult is that the Pulitzer jury recommended Main Street, but the Pulitzer board unanimously overturned the jury's recommendation.

Babbitt was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist.

Picture of the 1922 first edition dust jacket for Babbitt.
Picture of the 1922 first edition dust jacket for Babbitt.

Picture of the first edition copyright page for Babbitt.
Picture of the first edition copyright page for Babbitt.

Identification picture of Babbitt.

Identification picture of Babbitt.

Identification picture of Babbitt.

The first issue of Babbit (on the top) has "Supposing Purdy" on line 4 of page 49, and
The first issue of Babbit (on the top) has "Supposing Purdy" on line 4 of page 49, and "my fellow human" on line 5 of the same page. the second issue (on the bottom) has "Supposing Lyte" on line 4, and "any fellow human" on line 5.



Other first edition points for books by Sinclair Lewis include: Arrowsmith.

\"Arrowsmith" 

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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.