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Charles Dickens at 200

First American edition of The Pickwick Papers

Pickwick Papers title page

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Pickwick Papers editor's page Pickwick Papers publisher's page

As Dickens' reputation skyrocketed with the publication of Sketches by Boz, American publishers were eager to publish his works themselves. This first American edition of The Pickwick Papers was published and bound in five volumes in cloth and paper (with a spine label reading The Pickwick Club) by Carey, Lea & Blanchard of Philadelphia. In volume one, the publisher included reviews of the work from various sources, printed on several pages before the title page. Other titles published by the Philadelphia firm are advertised in volume four. The Pickwick Papers was immensely popular, as evidenced by the advertisement at the beginning of volume three, which includes: "The very great demand for this humorous work has induced the publishers to prepare new editions of the First and Second Parts, which are now ready." This first American edition was not illustrated, but in the last volume, the publisher inserted an advertisement for "A new and illustration Edition, complete in one volume," which they "will immediately publish."

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club
Philadelphia: Carey, Lea & Blanchard, 1836. Five volumes

PRESENTED BY HELEN DUNBAR HOLMES, CLASS OF 1909

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