Dana, Two Years before the Mast question

Gordon Neavill aa3401 at wayne.edu
Tue Sep 12 12:32:22 EDT 2006

I'm trying to ascertain the earliest printing of Two Years Before the Mast that contains the "Concluding Chapter" on pp. 387-406.

Early printings of the book, published in the ML in spring/summer 1945, omit the "Concluding Chapter" which was later added on pp. 387-406. ("Twenty-four Years After" which appeared on pp. 387-423 of early printings was shifted to pp. 407-443.)

Henry's Guide indicates 1946 as the date the "Concluding Chapter" was added (236.2) but the earliest copy I've actually seen with the "Concluding Chapter" is fall 1954, with dating based on the list of titles inside the jacket. It probably appeared earlier than this. Please let me know if you have an earlier printing that includes the "Concluding Chapter" on pp. 387-406.

The first printing, incidentally, has a 1945 copyright date and a fall 1944 list at the end of the volume. The 1945 copyright date was in error, since James D. Hart's introduction and the rest of the text was taken from a limited edition of 1,000 copies that was printed by Edwin and Robert Grabhorn and published by Random House in 1936. (The introduction to the 1936 limited edition was written with the understanding that the volume would eventually appear in the ML.) The fall 1945 second printing of the ML edition corrects the copyright date to 1936.

Publication of the ML edition may have been postponed to coincide with the film version starring Alan Ladd, released by Paramount in April 1945.

Please check your copies of Two Years before the Mast and let me know if you have a pre-1954 printing with the "Concluding Chapter."


Gordon B. Neavill
Associate Professor
Library and Information Science Program
106 Kresge Library
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202
313-577-0507 (tel); 313-577-7563 (fax)
aa3401 at wayne.edu

More information about the ModLib mailing list