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The Sunset Edition

Two editions of Garland's works were issued in his lifetime, the Sunset Edition and the Border Edition.  Both editions bound the books in a uniform binding, added a new title page, but used the plates of previous printings for the rest of the volume, including that of the copyright page.  As a result, used book dealers do not always accurately list a Sunset volume in their catalogues--many simply name the title and the copyright date (which is that of the setting text, not the Sunset printing), without describing the distinctive plain orange cover and title page crest of the Sunset edition (caveat emptor!).  All bibliographies of Garland's work cite 1909 as the date of publication of the Sunset Edition--but that date, as will be seen below, is erroneous.

Main-Travelled Roads, Sunset EditionAdding to the confusion is that the specific volumes comprising the Sunset Edition seem to have been inaccurately listed in ALL Garland bibliographies.  The problem seems to originate in the only descriptive bibliography attempted of Garland's work, that by Lloyd Arvidson, "A Bibliography of the Published Writings of Hamlin Garland," Masters Thesis, University of Southern California, 1952.  The bulk of the volumes Arvidson inspected were Garland's own personal copies, but he was unable to examine all of the various printings and editions, relying for some (duly noted in his thesis) on publisher's ads and other sources.  The authority for his listing of 10 volumes of the Sunset Edition, as noted in his thesis, is Publisher's Weekly for July 3, 1909.  But . . .

Of the 10 volumes he lists, 7 do not exist in a Sunset Edition cover.  Perhaps clarifying the matter are several Harper royalty statements in the USC Garland collection that list 8 volumes comprising the edition. The quantities of titles sold itemized in these statements, the first of which is dated December 1911, suggest that the edition was, in fact, issued in 1911.  (Moreover, since Cavanagh and Other Main-Travelled Roads were first published in a regular edition in 1910, The Sunset Edition logically could not have been published in 1909.)   

How then to explain the Publisher's Weekly ad?  The Macmillan Papers at the New York Public Library contain correspondence between Garland and George Brett, the head of the firm, dated in January 1909, in which Garland formally requests to be released from his contract so that he may pursue a uniform edition of his works with another firm.  Therefore, the uniform edition was announced in 1909 but was not actually published until 1911.  [Since originally posting this bibliography in 2001, I've now found a Garland diary entry recording that he received his personal copy of the Sunset Edition on December 9, 1911.

Volumes listed in Arvidson's bibliography Volumes listed in Harper royalty statements
  1. Boy Life on the Prairie
  2. The Eagle's Heart
  3. Jason Edwards
  4. A Little Norsk
  5. Main-Travelled Roads
  6. Prairie Folks
  7. Rose of Dutcher's Coolly
  8. A Spoil of Office
  9. The Trail of the Gold-Seekers
  10. Wayside Courtships
  1. Main-Travelled Roads
  2. Rose of Dutcher's Coolly
  3. The Eagle's Heart
  4. The Captain of the Gray-Horse Troop
  5. Hesper
  6. Money Magic
  7. Cavanagh, Forest Ranger
  8. Other Main-Travelled Roads

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