First Edition Identification Points
All of the following points must be present to ensure a true first edition / first printing.
- The copyright page has the following text:
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 69-11929
Manufactured in the United States of America
- Front flap of dust jacket lists the price $5.95 at the top right with “8021” below it
- Back flap of dust jacket has the number “0369” at the bottom left
- Both flaps of dust jacket list “A SEYMOUR LAWRENCE BOOK” and “DELACORTE PRESS/NEW YORK” in red towards the bottom
Later Editions’ Identification Points
The applicable printing numbers are listed in brackets when known.
- The copyright page replaces “First Printing” with the print number as well as the respective month and year. For example, the second printing would have “Second Printing, April 1969” [2+]
Book Club Editions’ Identification Points
- The copyright page has no mention of Library of Congress Catalog Card Number or print number
- Front flap of dust jacket has nothing at the top (removes the price and number “8021”)
- Front flap of dust jacket lists Book Club Edition at the bottom
- Back flap of dust jacket does not list “0369” but adds “PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.” and “1923” in the bottom middle
- Neither flap lists “A SEYMOUR LAWRENCE BOOK” or “DELACORTE PRESS/NEW YORK”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. began writing about his experiences in World War II and Dresden in particular immediately after the war ended in 1945. He autobiographically details the difficulty of trying to write the “famous Dresden book” in the first chapter of Slaughterhouse-Five. By 1965 Vonnegut had written five novels of increasing popularity, but none of them concerned Dresden. Between 1965 and 1967 he lived in Iowa City teaching at a writer’s workshop; the writers there encouraged Vonnegut to insert himself into his fiction and he was finally able to begin the book in earnest. In April, 1967 Vonnegut was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship to travel to Dresden to continue researching the novel. On March 31st, 1969, Delacorte Press published the 186-page novel for $5.95 in a print run of 10,000 copies. Slaughterhouse-Five was immediately successful upon release; it was also chosen as a Book Club selection and numerous additional printings followed throughout the year.