Items of the Week: Our Little Red Books


From the first impression of Mao's Little Red Book

Mao, Zedong, 1893-1976.

Mao zhu xi yu lu.

[Beijing] : Zhongguo ren min jie fang jun, [1964]

Call number: DS778 .M3 *

First edition. Illustrations are a portrait of Mao and a facsimile of calligraphy by Lin Biao. Clark Library copy 1: first issue of first edition; bound in tan paper wrapper, printed in red and black. Copy 2: second issue of first edition; bound in red vinyl, stamped in blind. Both copies with Lin Biao’s endorsement leaf in earliest state with misprint in second character. Gift of Curtis Dombek, 2010.

From the first impression

Initiated by our former Head Librarian, Bruce Whiteman, but delivered after his departure, are these gifts of the first and second impressions of the first edition of Mao zhu xi yu lu (Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book).

From the first impression

Both copies are extremely rare as they retain the printed endorsement leaf (in the earliest state with misprint in second character) of Lin Biao, head of National Defense until 1971. After his death, Mao ordered that this particular leaf be either torn out or defaced in all copies as a sign of loyalty to the party.  Our good friend, Curtis Dombek, is scouring China for extant copies and has generously given the Clark two of them.

From the second impression

Why the Clark? They seem out of scope, but consider what our collection includes:  works on feminism, sex and gender, the Cartwright and Harmsworth collections of Protestant literature, not to mention Oscar Wilde, Aretino, and Isaac Newton. Revolution comes in many guises.

One Response to “Items of the Week: Our Little Red Books”

  1. Palm leaf manuscripts at the Clark? « The Clog Says:

    […] you thought it was surprising that the Clark owned two first editions of Mao’s Little Red Book, you will perhaps also be surprised to learn that our diverse collections also contain two palm […]


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