The Iconic Dust Jacket for ERB's first book
Fred J. Arting's iconic dust jacket.
This dust jacket illustration is iconic to anyone in the antequarian book world. Any copy of the two McClurg
editions of Tarzan of the Apes that comes with its original dust jacket sells in the thousands of dollars. Sometime
back a FINE condition copy in its original dust jacket sold for $43,000 dollars at Sotheby's auction house. Up to
that time, no novel by any author had ever sold for this much.
I sell a fairly good, workmanlike facsimile of this dust jacket, but computerized printers have a difficult time
handling large swashes of flat paint. So, my version will never be perfect. Mind you, it's okay, but for a near-
perfect replica — I can't call anything this good a facsimile — go to recoverings.com where Phil Normand has
created one of the most beautiful examples of the printer's art seen on any book jacket; but that it belongs on
Burroughs' best-loved work makes it even better.
Below, from 1927 until the 1950s Grosset & Dunlap reprinted this title using a modified version of the original
illustration by Fred J. Arting, changing it from a night-time black silhouette Tarzan to a daytime full-color
Tarzan. Many Burroughs collectors believe the modification was done by G&D artist Paul Starr.
A. L. Burt used the same DJ design for all of their reprints. The first Burt version (above) was virtually
identical to the original McClurg. Different printers used different ink hues and shades, but the overall design
remained the same. For the most common version, the paper used was white with overall lighter images and
letters. Later versions included the gray paper version second below. Writing on erblist.com, bibliographer
Bob Zeuschner says "Still later, in a third A. L. Burt variant the colors became a bit bizarre, with the moon
over Tarzan's shoulder becoming a bright red color. It is not known why the colors changed, but my guess is
that a separate publishing house reprinted the jackets, and either the quality control on the colors left
something to be desired, or perhaps one of the printers decided to use his own creativity to make changes."