Back in February, in what feels like a different lifetime, I began thinking more about my copy of The Flapper Wife by Beatrice Burton. I had been reading a different Burton title, which I really ought to review on this blog soon, and I had thought it suspect that the 1927 book I was reading was listed on the back panel of the dust jacket of my so-called 1925 copy of The Flapper Wife.
Here’s the thing about my copy of The Flapper Wife: based on the copyright page alone, it appears to be a first edition. The copyright lists 1925, and no additional printings.
I did some digging, back when things were still open. My goal was to construct a mini-census of copies of The Flapper Wife to see how many variant printings I could find, all with identical copyright pages. I reached out to a handful of special collections libraries with The Flapper Wife, and some wrote back. Thank you, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, and Cornell! However, I found that I had better luck finding dust jacketed copies of The Flapper Wife through booksellers. I’d like to share what I’ve learned. (And please excuse any wonky formatting!)
This is Variant A. It’s the true first edition of The Flapper Wife.
This is Variant B, my copy of The Flapper Wife. It’s a reprint. Based on the titles listed and other books in my collection with the same panel, my best guess is that this reprint is from late 1927 or 1928.
This is Variant C. Again, my best guess based on titles listed and books in my collection with this same panel design would place this reprint around 1929.
That confirms it. My copy of The Flapper Wife is definitely a reprint. While the completist, perfectionist side of me is disappointed, I still think I have a great copy. It’s in fantastic condition and has a really cool bookseller sticker from P.O. News Stand in Montana, as found in Dingman, pg. 65. I even located the original owner in the census! And if that’s not good enough for me, then it’s fair to say that I got what I paid for back in 2011.
Even if I’m happy with my reprint copy of The Flapper Wife, let this also be a cautionary tale to us collectors, librarians, booksellers, or other interested parties out there. All editions of The Flapper Wife have an identical copyright page, no matter the printing. Buyer beware! I recommend asking for a picture of the back panel of the dust jacket before assuming a copy of The Flapper Wife is actually a first edition.
Now we know there are at least three variants of The Flapper Wife “out there.” If anyone reading this (collectors, institutions, booksellers, etc.) has a dust jacketed copy of The Flapper Wife, please let me know if your dust jacket’s back panel is different from the three pictured above, or just give a shout out to which edition you have. I’d be very interested to hear about it.
And of course, I owe a big thank you to Between the Covers – Rare Books Inc., ABAA and to Princeton Antiques Bookshop for helping me with this post. Both booksellers promptly responded to my research inquiry and have graciously provided the images shown above. Thank you again!