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
To find the market value for this book, click on the pre-filled eBay, AbeBooks, or Biblio links to the right and look for comparable listings that have all of these first edition criteria.
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.
June 19, 2008, 11:22 pm
It's interesting to note that even though 1956 is widely considered to be the publication date, the M-E copyright code suggests that it was published in December 1955.
July 1, 2008, 8:48 am
I have the same book but without the dust jacket. Also I have a typed letter, (sep sheet in the book from the president with signature). Appears to be something that was included in all of the books to the reader. Your thoughts?
July 19, 2008, 8:57 pm
I think you should double check and make sure it says first edition on the copyright page. And make sure it is not the inaugural edition (which was a new edition published when Kennedy became president. You should also make sure it is not the memorial edition which was issued after his assassination. If it is a first edition, I think you should try and find a dust jacket for it.
November 20, 2008, 3:18 pm
Hi--Do you happen to know how many copies of the first edition were printed?
January 5, 2009, 9:26 pm
have copy with dustjacket with IF on the copyright page >? is the a 1st
January 5, 2009, 11:14 pm
"IF" on the copyright page would indicate a book that was printed in September, 1956. Not a first printing.
January 6, 2009, 8:36 am
Thank you so much for your response there is so much to know n learn. this
website is so helpful I went thru it all and found I have about 8 books
January 21, 2009, 5:05 pm
I have an inaugural edition. Do you know the first printing of this edition? Thanks
October 5, 2009, 11:07 am
My copy appears to have a first state DJ (3.50, #5922A on bottom of flap, #4622 on back panel) but there is no First Edition statement or code on title page. I would assume this is a book club edition but there is no indentation and the blue cloth, black spine looks like the first edition. Does the lack of a Harper code mean that it can only be a book club edition? Thank you.
December 6, 2009, 5:38 pm
i have a copy of profiles in courage, by jfk, i got it in dec 1959 as a gift, on the copyright page there is nothing printed to suggest first edition or letters like ME below the copyright paragraph. just knothing, what does this mean ?
December 6, 2009, 7:44 pm
It sounds like a book-of-the-month reprint.
April 30, 2010, 10:57 am
My edition doesn't say 'First Edition' or have the M-E. In every other way it is the same, except instead of M-E, it says, 'D-F'. How does that fit into the scheme? I appreciate your assistance. My copy has JFK's signature and I'm trying to assess the value. Thanks
April 30, 2010, 12:35 pm
Your copy is an early printing of the first edition. The code indicates that your book was printing in April of 1956.
November 2, 2010, 8:50 pm
1955 EDITION CODE I - L why cant I find inder catalog number 61- 0040
March 4, 2011, 8:05 pm
I have a copy Harper & Brothers, NY copyright 1955, 1956 with the code F-F ( it doesn't say First Edition) signed by the first owner 'July 1956'. Does anyone knows what the code F-F means?
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.