A number of books have been dedicated to Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck, as you might imagine. R. F. Delderfield wrote a rather nice dedication to Steinbeck in Delderfield’s 1960 novel, Diana. Nathaniel Benchley, in his 1966 satiric novel, The Monument, dedicated the book thusly: For J. E. Steinbeck for precisely one hundred and three reasons.” The Benchleys and the Steinbecks were family friends.
But what’s the earliest dedication to Steinbeck? I would nominate Louis Pauls’ The Wrong World. Paul and Steinbeck were friends and correspondents in the 1930s. When Paul’s novel was published by Doubleday, Doran in 1938, few people had heard of this Steinbeck character, although he was starting to make a pretty good name for himself. This was a year short of Steinbeck’s publishing his masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath. I bet that fewer could name Steinbeck’s second book. Louis Paul could, and did. This is how he dedicated the book, without ever mentioning Steinbeck’s name: