The true first edition carries FIRST EDITION and the printing code M-E (indicating December 1955 as the printing date) on copyright page. The book is light blue cloth with black spine and gold letters. The jacket carries a price of $3.50. The book title on the jacket spine is red when it is in fine condition, but tends to fad to pink if sunned.
Note: Early printings lack the FIRST EDITION statement, and have different printing codes indicating the month and year when they were printed. The first letter indicates the month and the second letter indicates the year. The months range from A to M where A is January, B is February, C is March, and so forth through to M, which indicates December. J is skipped for some reason. The years are represented by the second letter which can be A through Z, and once again the letter J is skipped. Thus the letters represent a 25 year span, after which the letters repeat.
To use the code on the first Edition of Profiles of Courage as an example, the M means December, and the letter E can either indicate 1955 or 25 years earlier - 1930. Since we know Kennedy didn't write the book in 1930 (because he would have been 13 years old), we have to conclude that E represents 1955 in this case. Here are some later printing codes that people have asked about:
A-F = January 1956
D-F = April 1956
H-F = August 1956
C-G = March 1957
Profiles In Courage won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. This book is classified in the following categories: Politics, History
Picture of the 1955 first edition dust jacket for Profiles In Courage.
Picture of the first edition copyright page for Profiles In Courage.
Picture of dust jacket where original $3.50 price is found for Profiles In Courage.
Picture of the back dust jacket for the first edition of Profiles In Courage.
Picture of the first edition Harper & Brothers boards for Profiles In Courage.
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.