| Stephen King|
| New English Library|
| 1974 (May)|
| trade hardcover, 240 pp|
|First Edition Identifiers:|
|Copyright page states: First NEL Hardcover edition 1974|
| less than 1,000 printed|
Text and images provided by Biomieg and Needfulthings. Additional information provided by neo_trinity
The artist with the distinction of producing the first original painting for a Stephen King novel was Raymond “Ray” Feibush. He was responsible for the artwork on the U.K First Edition dust jacket of “Carrie” in 1974. He worked for New English Library (NEL) from 1969 up until 1976 and produced over 40+ cover/interior designs for their science fiction novels. For reasons unknown, he stopped doing science fiction art in the U.K. in 1976, where he returned to the U.S. His final piece was for a Putnam (New York) novel published in 1980. Sadly, he passed away in June, 1998 at the young age of 50. Paperwork obtained from the archive shows that he was paid £180.00 for producing the original acrylic painting, to which NEL had exclusive rights to reproduce for their dust jacket, and for marketing the novel in 1974. He was allowed to keep the original painting after the publisher made a copy, like all his previous creations.
In preparation for researching the design, Ray was forwarded a proof copy of the novel in December 1973. Documentation included with the proof indicated that the novel was originally priced at £2.95, with a May 9, 1974 release. Correspondence show that Ray finished the painting on January 19, 1974 and delivered it to the offices of NEL in London. It is worth mentioning that this First State proof that was issued to the artist is different in design to the Second State proof that was produced in February 1974 for marketing, printing and editors review. That state is brown in color and had a more uniform design with the remaining NEL imprints through to “The Stand”.
[The following information was provided by member neo_trinity]
On February 16, 1974, per his contract, Ray received three prototype dust jackets that were to be the final design of the cover. He signed and dated them on the rear of the dust jacket cover on this day. Upon closer inspection with the final dust jacket of the First Edition, I have discovered a total of 7 differences. Most notably is the price decrease to £2.50, and the opening paragraph on the front flap. What was originally written as “Carrie White” was changed to “Carrie, Carietta White”. There are five other changes.
These three dust jackets were stored interwoven with tissue paper, sandwiched between two panes of glass, and taped shut since 1974. They were only opened yesterday to photograph, and have since been placed back in a protective environment. They are the finest examples of a dust jacket that I have ever seen. I only wish a collector had the foresight to do the same thing with Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” in 1937. Oh how the book world would appreciate that today.
These three items from the “Carrie” Artist Archive Collection have been with the previous owner, a friend of the artist, since 1976. They were part of the five items I was fortunate enough to acquire from him the other day in London. He has one of the finest collection of rare books and memorabilia that I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. His collection comprised of 63 different authors works (now 62), with two other King items previously unheard of by myself. While he doesn’t collect the full canon of each author’s library, the select pieces he does have are exemplary choices. I can share the remaining items as soon as I have them photographed.
On a personal note, while I have been searching unsuccessfully for years for concrete evidence of the actual U.K. print run of “Carrie”, the generally accepted belief is somewhere between 600 and 1000 copies. Personally, I don’t believe the number to be this high. From speaking with many collectors, book dealers and auction houses in the U.K., the NEL First Edition of “Carrie” has become an allusive copy to obtain, and very rarely appears. On the other hand, the Doubleday edition is very easy to find through many different avenues. The fact that Stephen was basically an unknown writer in 1973, I find the treatment that they awarded his first novel to be very supportive, with an original dust jacket design, as opposed to a standard bold typeface design that was common at the time.