Very Peculiar ML Dust Jacket

Thu Apr 4 23:49:35 EST 2002

Gosh, Amy, I'd forgotten all about that 10-year-old column.  
I don't know if the jacket was used on all 37 titles in 
print in spring 1918.  I've only seen it on Evolution in 
Modern Thought and now on the two titles on eBay.  I can't 
imagine what B&L was thinking when they used the generic 
jacket since it doesn't reveal the title of the book inside 
it.  Somebody, maybe the bookseller, had to tear the top off 
the spine of the jacket to reveal the book's title.  Both of 
the eBay jackets are torn at the top of the spine, as was 
the one I examined. I can think of only two explanations for 
such a jacket.  Maybe jackets for individual ML titles had 
run short on several occasions and they decided to order 
some generic jackets that could be used in a pinch on any ML 
book.  Or maybe it was conceived during the later stages of 
one of the legendary B&L office cocktail parties. 
All I can say for sure is that it dates from spring 1918 
since the list of titles on the front and back flaps goes 
through 37, Evolution in Modern Thought.  

Barry Neavill

---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 04 Apr 2002 10:28:27 -0800
>From: <dbapaper at>  
>Subject: Re: Very Peculiar ML Dust Jacket  
>To: modlib at
>    The Dust Jacket in question was written up and 
illustrated with a rather poor xerox copy in a 1992 issue of 
Modern Library Collector (MLC #24, p.4). It was described by 
Barry Neavill as a "generic jacket" used by Boni & Liveright 
in 1918 on all titles then in print, 37 Total.
>     The DJ xeroxed in MLC #24 is from Evolution in Modern 
Thought. The original owner of that one tore off the top 
portion of the spine so the title would display. Perhaps 
these DJs were a B&L' devise to illustrate the old 
maxim, "You can't tell a book by its cover."
>Amy Comeau
>On Thu, 4 Apr 2002 12:18:05 EST HTatML at wrote:
>Have not seen this dj either. Could be an experiment by ML, 
which perhaps was not meant to reach circulation. 
>Henry at Books etc
><A HREF="
zshop/S2UJ2VG921GMXP/107-4701874-7344539">Books etc</A>
>PMB 395,
>298 4th Avenue,
>San Francisco,
>CA 94118-2468
>Tel: 415-387-7162
Gordon B. Neavill
Associate Professor
Library and Information Science Program
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202
aa3401 at 

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