Early Editions of Kim

by David Alan Richards


The history of Kim in print begins not with a book but a magazine - or more specifically, a magazine syndicate. The American editor and publisher Samuel Sidney McClure had established his reputation through the invention and development of a literary syndicate, supplying newspapers and magazines around the world with stories and features. One of S.S. McClure’s far-flung customers was The Week’s News of the Pioneer Press, which Kipling edited in Allahabad from 1887 to 1888, and wherein almost all of the stories later collected in the Indian Railway Series first appeared.

The young editor had thus dealt professionally with McClure’s organization, and so perhaps was not surprised to hear from the man himself, who was indefatigable in pursuing authors likely to write for his syndicate, in January 1890, only weeks after Kipling had taken up residence in London. The first English edition of Soldiers Three had just appeared, and McClure wanted more short stories, and especially ‘fiction for youth’. The author’s businesslike response to McClure’s inquiry proposed “a book for boys, to be called An Officer and a Gentleman. If you think anything of the notion would you kindly give me (a) your most preferred size and (b) your rates. The story could be compressed or pulled out to suit.” (Kipling’s reply was addressed to McClure at 2 Dean’s Yard, Westminster, the London office of the American publisher John W. Lovell, whose agent Wolcott Balestier was also seeking contributions for McClure’s syndication service.)

While nothing apparently came of this particular proposal, McClure’s Magazine ultimately became the outlet of choice for the syndicated first appearances of Kipling’s longer work: Captains Courageous in 1896 (for which McClure contracted to pay $10,000 in gold dollars, overcoming an equivalent offer from Century Magazine), and Stalky & Co. in 1898. For the magazine rights to Kim, McClure paid £5,000 ($25,000), delaying the publication of the book edition to run the story serially in the United States in McClure’s Magazine from December 1900 through October 1901, and in England in Cassell’s Magazine from January through November 1901. Serial publication was first copyrighted in America by filing the McClure’s sheets: Chapters 1, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11 and 13, individually date-stamped monthly beginning 24 November 1900, may still be found at the Library of Congress.

Both magazine series featured nine wash drawings by Edwin Land Weeks for each monthly chapter, and each Cassell’s issue in addition contained two or three line drawing by H.R. Millar (twenty-eight in all), with captions noting the magazine page number upon which the illustrated incident appeared. Pride of place, however, was taken by photographic plates of ten low-relief terra-cotta plaques modelled by the author’s father John Lockwood Kipling. As Kipling describes it in his autobiography Something of Myself: “Here it was needful to catch the local photographer who, till then, had specialized in privates of the line with plastered hair and skintight uniforms, and to lead him up the strenuous path of photographing dead things, so that they might show a little life. The man was a bit bewildered at first, but he had a teacher of teachers, and so grew to understand. The incidental muck-heaps in the stable-yard were quite noticeable, and Mother allowed half-born ‘sketches’ to be dumped by our careless hands on sofas and chairs. Naturally, when he got his final proofs he was sure that ‘it ought to be done again from the beginning’, which was rather how I felt about the letterpress, but, if it be possible, he and I will do that in a better world, and on a scale to amaze the Archangels.”

These ten Lockwood Kipling plates, reprinted with sepia tones, are the only illustrations in the first book edition of Kim, published in New York City by Doubleday, Page & Company on 1 October 1901, priced at $1.50; the publisher deposited two copies in the Library of Congress on 2 October under Copyright No. 18154 of that date, in the week following the final chapter’s magazine appearance in McClure’s. This First (American) Edition, bound in dark green vertical rib cloth, titled in gold and illustrated with the author’s blind-stamped design of a Viking longship used on his Doubleday trade editions from The Day’s Work of 1898 onward, has verse headings to Chapters VIII and XIII only, and these differ from the magazine version (where all chapters have headings).

Copies are known where the spine title is printed “Kim”, rather than the normal form “KIM”; copies are also known in what may be a trial binding of strong reddish brown, lacking the longship on the cover and the publisher’s name on the spine. Advance copies in plain tan or buff wrappers were rubber-stamped on the front: “Advance Copy. | Publication Day, Oct 1, 1901”. A Second American Edition, containing the verse headings to all the chapters used in the First English Edition, was published 23 October 1901, with a reset text running to 463 pages (the First [American] Edition has 460 text pages).

This edition was set up from a set of English proof sheets (presently in the Houghton Library at Harvard, a gift from Kipling bibliographer Flora Livingston), corrected by Kipling in red ink, consisting of 96 pages of page proofs and the balance being galley proofs, each stamped “[date] Aug 00 R.&R. Clark Printers, Brandon St., Edinburgh”. The page proofs are date-stamped variously 15-17 August 1900, and the galley proofs (numbered in columns 49-207, and printed in double columns on one side of the leaf) date-stamped variously 20-28 August 1900. The text is that of the periodicals, the running-head line is “Kim o’ the Rishti” (the story’s original title), and the verse headings have all been stricken through and those used in this First (American) Edition substituted by the author in Chapters VIII and XIII. Except for the title, the First (American) Edition follows exactly the corrected text of this proof.

The First English Edition quickly followed, published on 17 October 1901 by Macmillan and Co. in London, priced at 6 shillings. It is bound in moderate red criss-cross cloth, lettered in gold on the spine and illustrated in gold on the front cover with Kipling’s Ganesha device, a tusked elephant head bearing a lotus in its trunk within a triple-bordered circle, which also contains the Hindu swastika (this design’s original was also composed by John Lockwood Kipling, in the form of a low-relief plaque for the front cover of the first eleven volumes of the “Outward Bound” edition of Kipling’s works, issued by Scribners in America in 1897). Printed in Edinburgh by R.&R. Clark, Limited, this edition also contains the ten Lockwood Kipling plates, but these are gray-toned rather than sepia as in the First (American) Edition.

As discussed above, one set of Clarke page proofs was marked-up by Kipling for the American edition. The remaining, unmarked English proof copy, now in the Taylor Collection at Princeton University, was formerly in the Kipling collections of Martindell, Brunner and Ballard, and features the Macmillan trade edition’s (First English Edition’s) collation and contains verse headings to all chapters, but no illustrations or List of Illustrations, and is printed on thick coarse paper, with a title page dated “1900”. The rear leaf of advertisements differs from that later issued in the first trade edition, being dated “5.8.00” (5 August 1900) and listing as the first book the novel by its original title, “Kim o’ The Rishti”. In these proofs, the verse headings for Chapters VIII and XIII are those printed in the magazine text, not those later substituted on the proof sheets corrected by the author for the American edition. These proofs were further revised, as the published text of the English trade edition shows many changes and typographical corrections differing markedly from the English proof copy. Copyright was establish in England on 17 October 1901, and a second issue was published in November.

The Macmillan Colonial Library Edition, No. 414 in that series, was also published in 1901 from these English sheets and bound in blackish blue vertical rib cloth boards decorated in blind and lettered in gold on the front cover and spine, with a new title page, and this legend on the verso of the fore-title: “This Edition is intended for circulation only in India and the British Colonies.” Bound in at the end is an 8-page Catalogue of Macmillan’s Colonial Library of Copyright Books, labelled “CL20.8.01” (20 August 1901) and including Kim. There was also an issue in wrappers, in moderate orange yellow lettered in dark reddish orange ; both the boards and wrappers issues contain the ten Lockwood Kipling plates.

The First Canadian Edition, published by George N. Morang & Co., Limited, of Toronto, is made from the U.S. sheets of the First (American) Edition (with the verse headings only to Chapters VIII and XIII), with a cancel title page leaf bearing its copyright notice on the verso: “Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada in the year Nineteen Hundred and One, by Rudyard Kipling, at the Department of Agriculture.” Its sage green vertical rib cloth boards are lettered in gold on the spine and blind-stamped on the cover with the circular device for Morang’s “Authorized Edition” of Kipling’s works, a circle containing a swastika (the mirror image of that on the First English Edition’s cover device) and a facsimile signature of the author. Like its American predecessor, the Canadian edition’s top edges are gilt, and its Lockwood Kipling plate sepia-toned, but it lacks the list of illustrations found in the U.S. edition, and that edition’s half-title is replaced with a tipped-in leaf headed “Canadian Copyright Editions”, listing 15 titles for Kipling, but not Kim.

The next edition of Kim to appear was in 1902 with Volume XIX in the Outward Bound Edition commenced by Charles Scribner’s Sons in New York in 1897, in reddish brown cloth lettered and decorated on the spine in gold with a white embossed celluloid Ganesh device on the front cover; the English analog was Volume XX of Macmillan and Co.’s Edition De Luxe, in red cloth, and both contained the Lockwood Kipling plates.

One more edition deserves mention, to round out this review of the early editions of Kim. In 1912, Doubleday, Page & Company produced an American quarto edition, 9 7/8 inches high and 7 1/4 inches wide in red cloth, lettered and decorated in gold (a variant binding in olive cloth is also known); this edition, advertised as a “Special Gift Edition” and priced at $2.50, also features the Lockwood Kipling plates, here tinted blue-green and tipped onto pages with multi-colored borders.

Bibliographical References

First (American) Edition: Livingston 248, Stewart 253
First English Edition: Martindell 96, Livingston 250, Stewart 254
Second American Edition: Stewart 255
American Quarto Edition: Livingston 251, Stewart 256