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The Story of The Story of Mankind

by Hendrik van Loon

First Winner of the Newbery Medal

to which is appended Photographs of First and Significant Later Editions to Illustrate the Book's Printing History as told by Volumes in the Newbery and Caldecott First Edition Collection in the Historical Collection of the Cooperative Children's Book Center.




The Story of Mankind. By Hendrik van Loon. Boni and Liveright, 1921. 479 pages. First Edition: Published November 21, 1921. Newbery awarded June 26, 1922.


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Note: The Story of Mankind underwent five printings before the Newbery votes were tabulated on March 8, 1922, and five additional printings prior to the announcement of the Newbery Award on June 26, 1922. In all, it underwent 25 printings before a special Newbery Medal edition was issued in June 1924. It was a true cross-over book, published for both an adult and child audience, and read by both. Since the text covers the entire history of mankind, it has been continually updated since 1926; consequently, there are more variant editions of The Story of Mankind than any other Newbery Medal winner.

Third printing: Published January 1922. Note: Although the book was widely and favorably reviewed, the back flap copy apparently answers a bit of negative criticism: "The publishers wish to emphasize the fact that Mr. Van Loon conceived the idea and prepared 'the copy' for his Story of Mankind long before there was any intimation of Mr. [H.G.] Wells' 'Outlines.' "

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School Edition: Published by Macmillan, January 1923. Note: The special school edition includes 22 pages of questions and exercises written by Hendrik van Loon himself.

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Newbery Medal Edition: First published June 1924. (Six printings) Note: A special Newbery Medal edition was published between June 1924 and October 1926. Only the binding was changed for this edition; the text remains the same. The fact that this lavishly produced volume was published suggests that the award had rather quickly established its significance in U.S. children's literature.

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Enlarged Newbery Medal Edition: First published November 1926. (7 printings) Note: Includes a new chapter by van Loon called "After Seven Years" that describes the state of the world seven years after the end of WWI.


Garden City Star Edition: First published December 1930. (13 printings) Note: Newbery is misspelled as Newberry on the book's title page.

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Garden City Juvenile Edition: First published March 1933. (5 printings) Note: Includes illustrated end paper dated 1933, created by Van Loon especially for this children's edition.

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Garden City DeLuxe Edition: First published August 1938. (3 printings)


Pocket Book Edition: First published September 1939. (13 printings) Note: The copyright page in this paperback edition shows a detailed printing history (publication month and year for every printing and edition before 1939) of The Story of Mankind. This edition is especially noteworthy for "Epilogue: A Final Chapter which Brings this Book up to September, 1939." Written especially for the Pocket Book edition by van Loon as the United States was on the brink of war, he looks forward to the day he can write a chapter about the end of the war and end of Hitler. He concludes by saying "Farewell, my friends, and may we meet again soon." Van Loon died in 1944. Thus his last installment on The Story of Mankind appears only in the Pocket Book edition.

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Black & Gold Edition: First published by Liveright, 1943. Note: Black & Gold editions were part of a publisher series, designed to make complete, unabridged texts available in inexpensive hardcover bindings.


New & Enlarged Edition: First published by Liveright, 1951. Note: Includes six new chapters written by van Loon's son, Gerard Willem van Loon. Concludes with Chapter 71: "The United Nations."

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Cardinal Giant Edition: First published December 1952. Note: Contains exactly the same text as the 1951 edition.

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Black & Gold Edition: First published by Liveright, April 1962. Note: Contains exactly the same text as the 1951 edition.

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New & Enlarged Edition: First published by Liveright, 1967. Note: Adds one new chapter by Professor Edwin C. Broome. Chapter 72: "How an Uneasy Peace Has Been Observed since the Action of the United Nations in Korea."

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Updated Black & Gold Edition: First published by Liveright, 1972. Note: Adds three new chapters by an uncredited author, concluding with Chapter 75: "The Earth as a Global Village."

Eighth printing:

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Updated Edition: First published by Liveright, December 1984. Note: Includes one new chapter by Yale professor John Merriman, "Approaching the Year 2000," and six new illustrations in the style of van Loon, by Adam Simon.


Liveright Paperback Edition: First published by Liveright, 1994. Note: Same text as updated 1984 edition.

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The Historical Collection of the Cooperative Children's Book Center maintains a collection of first and significant later editions of the Newbery and Caldecott Medal books. This page demonstrates the potential for scholarly study that such a collection offers, and also shows the importance of careful attention to bibliographical details for anyone studying the award books. The books in the CCBC's Newbery and Caldecott Collection are available by appointment to anyone interested in the history of the Newbery and Caldecott Award.


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