Collectible Editions of Bromfield's Work
Below you will find most of Louis Bromfield's major works, including the title, publisher and year of original publication, and the price ranges I found when searching online for very good or better first editions in very good or better dust jackets.
When pricing or shopping for Louis Bromfield books, bear this in mind: Because he was a popular author, some of these titles can be found cheaply and in profusion as ex-library, book club editions, or worn copies. But don't be fooled; the first editions in presentable dust jackets are much rarer indeed, principally because his books were read over and over, and dust jackets were often discarded or abused. Fine first editions in fine dust jackets will command more than the prices I have listed here; in most cases I was only able to find very good/very good, if that. A few titles - A Modern Hero and Twenty-Four Hours, for example - were originally issued in signed limited editions in slipcases, also exceedingly difficult to find intact. All bring an additional premium if signed. His books were published in 27 languages and remain collectible internationally.
There is a resurgence of interest in Bromfield's work, particularly those on conservation and organic sustainable agriculture because of renewed demand for knowledge. Some of his political essays seem even more pertinent today than when they were issued, and his novels, in my opinion, always ring true. Many of his books are again in print in trade paperback editions.
The Green Bay Tree, Frederick A. Stokes, New York, 1924. ($65-$175 no DJs found)
Possession, Frederick A. Stokes, New York, 1925. ($100 in good DJ)
Early Autumn, Frederick A. Stokes, New York, 1926, won Pulitzer Prize for fiction. ($120 without dj/$6,500 signed w/fine DJ)
A Good Woman, Frederick A. Stokes, New York, 1927. ($60-$90 in DJ)
The Work of Robert Nathan, Bobbs Merrill, Indianapolis, 1927. (2 found, 1 signed without DJ for $150 - other was ex-library at about $65)
The Strange Case of Miss Annie Spragg, Frederick A. Stokes, NY, 1928. ($60-$125)
Awake and Rehearse, Frederick A. Stokes, New York, 1929. ($35-$75)
Tabloid News, Random House, Limited to 850 copies, 1930, wraps. (scarce, $175-$225)
Twenty-four Hours, Frederick A. Stokes, New York, 1930. ($65-$150)
A Modern Hero, Frederick A. Stokes, New York, 1932. (Limited: $125-$165/Trade $40-$65 without DJ)
The Farm, Frederick A. Stokes, New York, 1933. (None found in DJ, $50-$75 without; $35-$60 for later 1946 illustrated edition in DJ)
The Man Who Had Everything, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1935. ($35-$40)
The Rains Came, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1937. (None found in DJ; $35-40 without)
The Bitter Lotus, World Publishing, New York, 1937. ($30)
It Takes All Kinds, Harper & Brothers, 1939. ($50-$250)
England, A Dying Oligarchy, Harper & Brothers, 1939, wraps. ($40-$65)
Night in Bombay, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1940. ($35-$65)
Wild Is the River, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1941. ($50-$75)
Until the Day Break, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1942. ($50-$140; $200 signed)
Mrs. Parkington, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1943. ($25-$30)
The World We Live In, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1944. ($35-$40)
What Became of Anna Bolton, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1944. ($35-$50)
Pleasant Valley, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1945. ($35-$40)
A Few Brass Tacks, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1946. ($35-$50)
Colorado, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1947. ($30-$50)
Kenny, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1947. ($25-$40)
Malabar Farm, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1948. ($30-$75)
The Wild Country, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1948. ($50-$75)
Out of the Earth, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1950. ($40-$50)
Mr. Smith, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1951. ($25-$40)
A New Pattern for A Tired World, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1954. ($25-$50)
Animals and Other People, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1955. ($30-$50)
From My Experience, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1955. ($30-$50)
Recommended Reading & a Documentary
Louis Bromfield, David D. Anderson, Twayne Publishers, New York, 1963.
The Heritage: A Daughter's Memories of Louis Bromfield, Bromfield, Ellen Geld, Harper & Brothers, New York, 1962. (This book is back in print in softcover, published by Ohio University Press). Highly recommended!
Louis Bromfield and Malabar Farm, Writings on Farming and Country Life. Edited by Charles E. Little, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1988.
Yrs, Ever Affly: The Correspondence of Edith Wharton and Louis Bromfield, Daniel Bratton, Editor. Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, 2000.
PBS produced an excellent documentary on the life of Louis Bromfield entitled The Man Who Had Everything, narrated by Lauren Bacall. It has aired in many regions, but the only internet site I could find with information on it was here.
Some enduring words from Louis Bromfield:
"The world in which we live is a world in turmoil if you wish, but not a sick world. It is a world in which things happen more rapidly than ever before in history…it is a world in which nations, peoples and individuals can talk to each other within a second or two, in which appointed bureaucrats with power but no direct responsibility become all-powerful and ambassadors sink to the level of office boys. It is a world in which the crackling radio hourly brings new ideas of freedom or rebellion, of resentment and discontent, into hunts and kraals, yurts and bazaars in remote mountains, deserts and jungles. But worst of all it is a world wholly muddled by time lags and immense variations of living standards, literacy and political experience, and by traditions long dead which will not lie down as a self-respecting corpse should do. Part of this world still lies in the Middle Ages or beyond, yet is has electric light and radios and planes fly overhead. In part of it we attempt to force independence and democracy (which is a luxury that must be earned rather than either given or imposed by a loud-mouthed sergeant) upon peoples who cannot read or write and have no words in their languages for freedom, democracy, liberty or human dignity." Louis Bromfield, A New Pattern for a Tired World
"But most of all there is the earth and the animals through which one comes very close to eternity and to the secrets of the universe. Out of Gus, the Mallard duck, who comes up from the pond every evening to eat with the dogs, out of Stinker, the bull, with his wise eyes and placid disposition, out of all the dogs which run ahead leaping and barking and luring the small boys farther and farther into the fields, a child learns much, and most of all that warmth and love of Nature which is perhaps the greatest of all resources, not only because its variety and beauty is inexhaustible but because slowly it creates a sense of balance and values, of philosophy and even of wise resignation to man's own insignificance which bring the great rewards of wisdom and understanding and tolerance." Louis Bromfield, Animals and Other People
"Fifteen years after I hoped bleakly to escape from all the evils I knew so well at first hand, I have discovered bleakly that there is nothing superior about my own people and that they do not have any special wisdom or vision. We have merely been more fortunate than other peoples. We are generous because we can afford to be generous. We are perhaps open-hearted because we are still a young people, but we still understand very little about the evils of the world or how they can be cured or at least modified. We lack almost entirely the capacity of putting ourselves in the place of other peoples, and the knowledge of the average citizen concerning the life and the circumstances of other nations and peoples is primitive, frequently enough even among those who occupy high places in our government." Louis Bromfield, Essay, 1955
"Perhaps it will turn out that I have left behind some contributions not only to the science of agriculture, which is the only profession in the world which encompasses all sciences and all the laws of the universe, but to the realm of human philosophy as well. None of this could I have done within the shallow world of a writer living as most writers live." Louis Bromfield, Essay, 1995
EDITOR'S NOTE: Most of the photographs appearing in this issue were taken by Ron Sollome.
Questions or comments?