Scarlet Letter- Frequent edition/dating error

In the last blog entry I showed several 1892 Non-Series Scarlet Letter’s. Hawthorne’s book was reprinted by Altemus in numerous series and formats. The earliest 1892 editions did not reprint the “Preface to the Second Edition” which is dated March 30, 1850. All later reprints of this title did include the “Preface to the Second Edition”.

Unfortunately many booksellers erroneously believe that these reprinted editions are either the real second edition and/or their copy of the book is from 1850. Now I know many readers are saying that this statement is an exaggeration and there is no way a reputable dealer would make this error.

Well, excluding the 1892 books which did not have the preface there are 12 Scarlet Letter’s published by Altemus presently listed on the ABE book search site. ( Five of those sellers state that their book is a second edition. One actually notes 1850 as the publication date. That is over 40%.

I think it is fairly common to not realize that the reprint publishers of the 1880’s – early 1900’s often republished titles in toto and editions and dates within the book may not be accurate in terms of date and edition.