Modlib Novice

j b krygier jbkrygie at
Sun Apr 1 16:33:49 EDT 2001

Barbara Socor wrote:

> I came to my interest in ML via my interest in collecting Philip
> Roth. Since I couldn't consider a "true" first of Goodbye Columbus I
> thought the ML edition would be a nice "substitute."

The phenomena of non-Modern Library collectors pursuing
collectible authors makes some normally common ML titles
more valuable.  Salinger's <Catcher in the Rye> seems to be the
best example (as far as I know, this was a very popular ML title
and there are lots of copies around but it is valued quite highly
in Henry Toledano's guide to Modern Library editions).

> So: I am wondering about why the torchbearer sextangle appears in so
> many places (inside front flap, rear upper right, center, left of
> center) on the Columbus DJ. Was this by design (no pun intended...) or
> simply random (again, no pun...) placement?

The ML logo is distributed in a similar manner on almost all ML
DJs - to make sure, I assume, that buyers knew they were seeing
a ML edition.

> Does anyone know the origin
> and evolution of the torchbearer?

This is old news for the ML pros on this list but briefly: the torchbearer
appears when Cerf and Klopfer purchase the Modern Library series from
Boni and Liveright in 1925.  The design, by Lucien Bernhard, appears on
the book covers, title pages, end-papers, and DJs.  Bernhard torchbearer
is replaced by a new torchbearer designed by Rockwell Kent in 1929.  This
new torchbearer is displayed on the books and their DJs and lasted until
1967 when the torchbearer is redesigned by Fujita into a much more
stylized form.  The early Bernhard torchbearer was reused when the
Modern Library was resurrected in the early 1990s.  Scot Kamins has
scans of the major torchbearer variations at his ML Collector's WWW
site (

> I am glad to be a part of this and look forward to learning about
> this very exciting collecting area.

If you have not already done so, you need to get a copy of Henry Toledano's

'The Modern Library Price Guide' (info at which is
much more than a price guide and vital to making sense out of all the ML
titles out there.

John K.

j   b   k r y g i e r

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