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Q: Madison Grant's "The Passing of the Great Race" ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Madison Grant's "The Passing of the Great Race"
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: narrative-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 14 Oct 2004 07:19 PDT
Expires: 13 Nov 2004 06:19 PST
Question ID: 414739
We are interested in finding a source that verifies how many copies
were sold of Madison Grant's 1916 book, "The Passing of the Great
Race" and how many reprintings and translations it had in the 20s. We
are looking only for reputable academic sources -- none from racist
websites. Thanks.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 14 Oct 2004 08:35 PDT
I can give you the number of copies published in the US, as per the NY Times.  

I haven't come across anything regarding reprints, translations, etc. 
Frankly, it seems unlikely that this sort of information would be
readily available for a book almost a century old.

Let me know how you would like to proceed on this.


Subject: Re: Madison Grant's "The Passing of the Great Race"
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 14 Oct 2004 09:33 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

I take it back...there certainly is information on the number of
publications and translations.

Here's what I found.

Madison Grant's obituary was carried by the NY Times on May 31, 1937,
at a time when they still used the word "dead" to report on the
passing of well-known people:



The article includes the following passage on Grant's notable/notorious book:

"More that 16,000 copies of Mr. Grant's book, "The Passing of the
Great Race," have been published in this country.  Besides being a
recognized book on anthropology, it has often been called to
Congressional attention in the passage of restrictive immigration
laws.  ...Mr. Grant wrote much about eugenics and had served as one of
the eight members of the International Committee of Eugenics.


According to the WorldCat catalogue of books (available at many
libraries), The Passing of the Great Race is available in the
following printings:

The Passing of the Great Race
or, The Racial Basis of European History

Scribner's 1916, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1930, 1936

Arno Press 1970

Ayer Co. Publ. 2000

G. Bell (London) 1917, 1918, 1921

In addition, two German-language editions are available...and guess
who's listed as a co-author on the 1925 edition....!

Der Untergang der grossen Rasse :
die Rassen als Grundlage der Geschichte Europas  
Grant, Madison, 1865-1937.; Hitler, Adolf,; Lehmann, J. F.
München : J.F. Lehmann, 1925

Der Untergang der grossen Rasse :
die Rassen als Grundlage der Geschichte Europas / 
Grant, Madison, 1865-1937.
Viöl : Archiv-Edition, 2002

I trust this provides the information you were looking for.  But
before rating this answer, please let me know if there's anything else
you need.  Just post a Request for Clarification, and I'll be happy to
assist you further.


search strategy:  Searched Google, newspaper databases and WorldCat
for the title of the book.

Request for Answer Clarification by narrative-ga on 14 Oct 2004 10:44 PDT
Thanks for your great answer. We don't know if you can find this, but
is it possible to get context for the 16,000 books sold figure? Was
that a bestseller in the '20s?


Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 14 Oct 2004 17:05 PDT
I didn't find anything that specifically discussed sales of "The
Passing..." beyond what I already cited.

But I did find a few mentions of sales of other books that may lend
some perspective:


[Article discussed increasing popularity of non-fiction books in the post-WWI era]

The Washington Post
Jun 22, 1926

"We read a half million copies of 'Main Street', another half million
of Well's 'Outline of History' and 300,000 copies of Papini's 'Life of


Another article I saw from 1923 or so mentioned that Zane Grey's
western novels handily sold a million copies or more, so even back in
the 1920's, million-sellers were a well-known event.

All told, I would say sales of 16,000 were quite respectable --
especially for a non-fiction work -- but not something that belongs in
the "bestseller' category.

Hope that helps.

narrative-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
Excellent answer -- thanks for the hard work!

Subject: Re: Madison Grant's "The Passing of the Great Race"
From: pafalafa-ga on 18 Oct 2004 07:54 PDT
And thank you, too!

This was a very interesting question to work on.  I learned about an
important slice of history, and honed some of my researching
techniques, to boot.

The stars and the tip and your kind words are much appreciated.


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