A Guide to Peterson’s Fourth

for the thrifty collector


Perhaps the single most confusing aspect of the fourth edition is it’s title, which appears differently on the spine, title page, half-title, cover – and evolved as new and special versions were released to market.


Adding to the confusion, the fourth edition was also offered in three distinct formats: hardcover, softcover and flexibook; a water-resistant binding that is more flexible than hardcover and more durable than softcover.


In addition to the three formats offered, a number of design changes were introduced as the book’s marketing was evolved. By appearance, they can be grouped broadly into four distinct styles:

Special Editions

Coinciding with the fourth edition’s debut in 1980, Houghton Mifflin also produced a collectors edition, limited to 1000 copies, and bound in green moroccan leather with gilt accents and edges.


First printings of the fourth edition can be determined by the presence of the date ‘1980’ at the bottom of the title page, or by a number-series ending in ‘1’ on the copyright page.


The points given above are not intended to be exhaustive and merely reflect my own collecting and understanding up until this moment.

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