Books That Shaped America (First Editions)

Written by: Peter Berg

Primary Source: The Special Collections Provenance Project at MSU, February 4, 2016



As part of our initiative to collect the first or earliest possible edition of books cited in the Library of Congress “Books That Shaped America” list, we recently acquired two books on the list that are worthy of recognition in our Provenance Project.

One acquisition is a first edition of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which features the autograph of the author, Betty Smith, while the second book is a later printing of a first edition of How to Win Friends and Influence People. In it, the author Dale Carnegie provides a lengthy inscription on the front endpaper:

This book is inscribed to Samuel Deutscher with deep salaams and salutations

Dale Carnegie

The book—which is considered the grand-daddy of all self-help books—sold over 15 million copies, and while we’re confident that our readers are already enthusiastic book lovers, perhaps we’ll study Carnegie’s principles to make our audience feel even more “important and appreciated.”

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Peter Berg
Peter Berg is Head of Special Collections and Associate Director for Special Collections & Preservation for the Michigan State University Libraries.
Peter Berg

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