Author of Peck's Bad Boy

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Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa

Of all the George W. Peck books, the most popular was Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa. The first edition was published in 1883 by Belford, Clarke and Company. The importance of this title cannot be overstated. It appears in Jacob Blanck's Peter Parley to Penrod book indicating its significance as a 19th century children's/ juvenile book.

Of course, popularity and significance is one thing but book reviewer's thoughts are another. Here is a July, 1884 comment from "Book Notes", a literary magazine.

This title was published by a number of American and foreign publishers between its initial publication in 1883 and the early 20th century. It also appeared in several combination books which included more than one Peck story.

Most editions (including the first) had 36 chapters and 196 pages. Each chapter included a "Bad Boy" vignette. The 1883 Rose Publishing Company book has the same 36 chapters in 150 pages. The 1883 C. B. Beach book has three additional chapters and 256 pages. Thus, variants do exist.

Gean Smith (1851-1928) did the 20 full page illustrations for the 1883 first edition. He was born in New York and subsequently lived in Illinois and Galveston. He is considered one of the greatest animal (horse) painters. It is unclear how he came to be the illustrator of the early Peck's Bad Boy books.

True Williams (1839-1897) did illustrations for the Peck's Bad Boy combination books in the 1890's and later. He is best known for his illustrations of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

The Publishers (in chronological order):

American Publishers:
Belford, Clarke and Company, Chicago 1883-1890 (First edition)
C. B. Beach and Company, Chicago 1883
Frank F. Lovell and Company, New York 1886
Butler Brothers, New York and Chicago 1889-1890
Donohue, Henneberry Company, Chicago 1890
John W. Lovell Company, New York 1891
Morrill, Higgins and Company, Chicago 1892
W. B Conkey and Company, 1893-1905
Geo. M. Hill, Chicago, 1900
Homewood Publishing Company, Chicago 1902-1905

Foreign Publishers: For this information please click on the publisher's name
Rose Publishing Company, Toronto 1883
Robert Davies, London 1883
Geo. Routledge and Sons, London 1887
E. W. Cole, Melbourne ca. 1901
Musson Book Company, Toronto ca. 1919
Carl Stephenson Publisher, Berlin 1925

Combination books: For this information please click on the publisher's name.
Gay and Bird, London 1893
Musson Book Company, Toronto 1935
Morrill, Higgins and Company, Chicago 1892
W. B. Conkey Company, Chicago 1893-1905
Homewood Publishing Company, Chicago 1902-1905
Thompson and Thomas, Chicago 1900-1908
Charles C. Thompson Company, Chicago 1909-1917
Stanton and Van Vliet Company, Chicago 1917-1920's
John R. Stanton Company, Chicago 1922- ?
David McKay Company, New York ca.1929

Belford, Clarke and Company (1883-1890)
Belford, Clarke published copies of this book throughout the 1880's. By 1888 this title was in its 750th thousand printing.

The first edition was published by this firm in March, 1883 in wraps as well as cloth. The first state of the first edition has lines above and below the copyright notice that are 7/8" apart on the copyright page and has no advertisements after page 196. Later editions have either different spacing of the lines or no lines at all.

"A card from the author" is found after the title page in all but the very earliest (and rarest) copies according to Blanck in Parley to Penrod.

The books were originally priced at $1.00 (cloth) and 50 cents (wraps).

This title was an immediate best seller with 200,000 copies being sold within six weeks of publication.

Announcement of publication in March, 1883

May, 1883 advertisement

The Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa cover formats were the same between 1883 and 1888. The books were 7.5 x 5.25 and were published in several different colors. The cover formats are different for the 1889 and 1890 books.



1883 Title page

1883 in wraps


First edition copyright page

Later copyright page

Later copyright page






1890 (7.75 x 5.25)

C. B. Beach, Chicago 1883

Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa was the only Peck book published by this firm. It was printed in 1883 (the year when C. B. Beach & Co. was founded) and included three chapters that were not part of the Belford, Clarke and Company first edition (Chapters XXXVII, XXXVIII, and XXXIX). This book is 256 pages whereas the first edition has only 196 pages. The Beach title page is different than the Belford, Clarke first edition title page.

The Beach book notes Belford, Clarke as the 1883 copyright holder. Thus the Beach Peck's Bad Boy is an early (1883) but not a first edition.

Not much is known about the publishing firm which was founded by Chandler B. Beach (1839-1928). Although the book is not a first 1883 edition, it is much rarer than the Belford, Clarke and Company first edition.

Frank F. Lovell and Company, New York 1887
Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa was published in 1887 in wraps as No. 5 in this publisher's Household Series. It cost 25 cents.

Butler Brothers, New York and Chicago 1889
This title was No. 89 in the Electric Series. This series in wraps was published in 1889-1890.

Donohue, Henneberry Company, Chicago 1890
This firm published seven Peck books, including this title in 1890 in its Caxton Edition of 12 Mos.

John W. Lovell Company, New York 1891
This title was one of seven that Lovell published in its 1891 Oxford Edition.

Lovell also published this title as Number 5 in its Household Library in 1888. It is most likely the same as the Household Library books that were published by Frank F. Lovell and Company in 1887.

Morrill, Higgins and Company, Chicago 1892
This publisher printed a number of Peck's books. Because of its short publishing history (1892-1893) they are extremely scarce. Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa was Number 1 in the Midland Series. This series was in wraps.

Two combination books of Peck's Bad Boy No. 1 and No. 2 were published by the firm. One was in the Idylwild Series and was in wraps. The other was not in any series and was published in wraps and hardcover at 50 cents and $1.25 respectively. These were the first of the Peck combination books

None of this company's Peck books have been seen.

W. B. Conkey and Company, Chicago 1893-1905
Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa was published in numerous formats, both non-series and within series, wraps and hardcovers by Conkey.

In 1893 this title was published in wraps for 25 cents.

Beginning in 1893 Conkey published combination books which included this title.

Peck's Bad Boy Complete included both Peck's Bad Boy No. 1 and No. 2. It is 8.25 x 6. This book is part of Conkey's Young Folks' Standard Classics Series. (This book was also issued in wraps in the Franklin Series -see below)

Later in the late 1890's and early 1900's Conkey printed Peck's Bad Boy and His Pa (Complete) and His Compendium of Fun. This book also had part of Peck's Sunshine in it. There are two formats.





Non Combination books were published in a number of cloth and wraps formats. Not all of them have been seen. Representative covers are shown.

In Wraps:

- White City Series (wraps) 1893
- Franklin Series (wraps)-1893 / ca.1903
- People's Series-3 Formats (1895)
   a. wraps
   b. Half imitation Morocco-plain edges
   c. Half imitation Morocco- gold gilt top and edges
- Peerless Series (ca. 1903)

Franklin Series (This 1893 book was a combination book which included both Peck's bad Boy No. 1 and No. 2.)


People's Series (25 cents)

Non Series post 1900 book in wraps


Franklin Series ca.1903


Franklin Series (post-1911)

Hard Cover Series
- Harvard Series (pre-1900)
- Copyright Series ca.1903
- New Abbey Series ca. 1900-1904
- Humorous Series ca. 1902
- Young Folks' Standard Classics (ca. 1903) (See above in the combination Conkey books for a picture of this book)

Harvard Series

Copyright Series


New Abbey Series 1902 (7.5 x 5.0)

New Abbey Series 1904 (7.5 x 5.0)


Humorous Series

Unknown Series- Post-1900 book

Geo. M. Hill, Chicago 1900
The Peck books published by this publisher have not been seen.

Homewood Publishing Company, Chicago ca. 1902-1905
This firm published this title in wraps, hardcover and in combination books.

Most of its publications are the same as the earlier Conkey books.

Combination Books: Peck's Bad Boy and His Compendium of Fun combines Peck's Bad Boy, No. 1 and Peck's Bad Boy, No. 2 with Peck's Sunshine in one volume. This combination book was previously published by Conkey in the same format.

Another combination book was found in the Peerless Series.
The book is in wraps. This volume includes Peck's Bad Boy, No. 1, Peck's Bad Boy, No. 2 and Peck's Sunshine.

Franklin Series had seven Peck books including this title. This book appears to be identical to the earlier Conkey published series.

Unknown Series


Last Revision: December 23, 2016