Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, First American Edition, Circa 1876

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Hartford, Connecticut: The American Publishing Company, 1876. First US edition, Second printing. Octavo, original gilt and black-stamped blue pictorial cloth. With by 144 illustrations.

This is the rare, blue cloth printing of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. This printing is the first American edition, second printing (published the same year as the first), in original cloth boards. 

The first novel Mark Twain wrote without a co-author, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is also his most clearly autobiographical novel. Enlivened by extraordinary and melodramatic events, it is otherwise a realistic depiction of the experiences, people, and places that Mark Twain knew as a child.

“Turning away from the adult corruption and humbuggery which he had satirized in The Gilded Age, Mark Twain refreshed his spirit in this… story of boyhood. The irresponsibility, the love of odd adventure, and the sense of natural justice as opposed to the village code, which characterize the heroes of this book and its sequel Huckleberry Finn, presented a sharp contrast to the Sunday School or rags-to-riches literature which was then the common fare doled out to children. For once, the natural rights of the small boy were set forth by a great writer who remembered his own childhood, when he had indeed inveigled some boys into whitewashing a fence for him, given pain-killer to his cat, teased his brother unmercifully, and continually sharpened his wits in devising ways of escaping punishment. These books let fresh air into the minds of parents who had shut the door on their own childhood, and they will be classics the world over as long as there are boys” (Grolier, 100 American).

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was originally published without illustrations, by Chatto & Windus, London, on June 9, 1876, about six months before the American edition was put on sale. The first American edition was published in the winter of 1876, although application for copyright had been made as early as July 21, 1875. “Publication of Tom Sawyer was little noticed… The book has, however, proved to be one of the most durable works in American literature. By the time of Twain’s death, it was his top-selling book. It has been in print continuously since 1876, and has outsold all other Mark Twain works” (Rasmussen, 459).


The book is in very good condition. Conservator did reinforce back and front joints of book. Several small points of foxing and minimal staining throughout, otherwise internally clean. A matching blue leather and cloth clamshell case with signature recessed and photographic inlay of Twain was created.

Dimensions: 10" H x 8 1/8" W x 1 7/8" D

Related Items

Sign Up for Weekly Deals!

Subscribe to our emails for special deals and exciting promotions! Subscribers receive a new, exclusive Flash Sale deal every Thursday.