Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. Try as I might, I cannot find anything in CMOS about whether to include first edition statements in a bibliography. There is a section on “editions other than the first,” which makes me think including statements of first editions is unnecessary. What say you?

A. Source citations don’t usually indicate that a particular edition is the first. The main reason for this is that first editions—out of respect for a future that none of us can predict—almost never call themselves that on the title page or anywhere else. If it’s relevant, this information can be mentioned in the text or in a note. But if you want to add it to a formal citation—as in the following bibliography entry—use square brackets to signal that the edition statement is not part of the source:

Fowler, H. W. A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. [1st ed.] Oxford: Clarendon Press; London: Humphrey Milford, 1926.