Collecting Rare Books and First Editions: Sinclair Lewis
By Tom Congalton
Sinclair Lewis is a major and very interesting American author whose collectibility seems to be highly volatile. He was by far one of the most respected and popular authors of the 1920-1950s, but the interest in him seemed to decline after his death, only to revive again beginning in the 1990s. His first book, a novel for boys, written under the pseudonym Tom Graham, Hike and the Aeroplane, (1912), is rare in jacket, and fairly expensive without, but might be only of marginal interest to the literary collector. All of his early mainstream books, The Trail of the Hawk, (1914 - "M-N" on copyright page), Our Mr. Wrenn, (1914 - "M-N" on copyright page), The Job (1917 - "B-R" on copyright page), The Innocents, (1917 - "F-R" on copyright page), and Free Air (1919), are very scarce in jacket. The franchise book is probably Main Street, (1920 - first issue jacket without reviews of this title on the front flap), which is very expensive in jacket. Babbitt (1922), Arrowsmith (1925 - the book, not the band, issued in both a trade and a limited edition), and Elmer Gantry (1927), round out his most sought after books, but he has plenty more as well.
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