Post-1970 MLs (was Re: Curious ML Binding)

j b krygier jbkrygie at
Tue Aug 20 14:53:32 EDT 2002


> John's copy of Irwin Shaw's SELECTED SHORT STORIES probably 
> dates from around 1971.  The price of ML books went up to 
> $2.95 in 1970, so it can't be earlier than that.  Plain 
> white endpapers were commonly substituted for Fujita's "ml" 
> endpaper after 1970.
> What's surprising is that Shaw's SELECTED SHORT STORIES was 
> being published at all after 1970.  RH was discontinuing one 
> ML title after another in 1971.  A huge part of the series 
> disappeared that year.  

Years back when I read some of Barry's research
on the Modern Library I remember being surprised
that MLs were printed after 1970.  I have read
and heard over and over that ML was discontinued
in 1970, with the implication being that no post
1970 MLs were printed (until the revival in 1977).

I had noticed some odd characteristics of a
few of my Toledano #14 (tall) MLs:

- cheap, coarse, and (now) yellowing paper on a
	few titles (Saki, Joyce's Dubliners, Sons
	and Lovers, a few Faulkners); usually
	paired with a cheap looking tan or
	denimesque book binding.

- blank endpapers - not the Fujita endpapers that
	were supposed to adorn binding #14.

- an ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
	printed on the DJ (back cover, there is
	one on my odd copy of Shaw's Short Stories
	at - but also on
	all the MLs with the cheap paper, and a
	few others.

Now, ISBN was adopted as a standard in 1970 (info:
and I am assuming Random House began to use it after
that (maybe Barry knows exactly when).

This is all semi important, thinks I:

I have two copies of the definitive text edition
of Joyce's Dubliners (First ML Ed, 1969).  One
has white, smooth paper, Fujita endpapers, and
no ISBN on the DJ.  The other has yellowed, coarse
paper, white (well, yellowing) end papers, and
an ISBN on the DJ (which otherwise are identical).
Both say First ML edition.

Given the fact that MLs were printed after 1970,
it seems that there should be a distinction between
these two books - one is actually a true first and
the other is a subsequent printing (Henry's Guide
indicates only a 1st edition printing for this
title).  I would think that the non-1st would be
worth substantially less than M ($40) as noted in
the Guide.

I have also seen a many copies of Kafka's "The
Castle" that have the post-1970 characteristics,
and fewer that seem to be 'true' firsts (eg.,
white paper, endpapers, no ISBN).  Maybe a 'true'
first of this title should be worth more than the
G it is assigned in the Guide.

I am wondering if there are other late 1960s ML
1st editions that also had second, post 1970

In any case, it does seem important to sort out
the differences between true firsts and subsequent
printings in the late 1960s MLs - and it is not
hard to do given the distinctions in DJ, paper,
and bindings.

Any thoughts on this?

It is also kinda interesting that there were post
1970s printings that had a variety of characteristics;
my strange copy of Shaw's Short Stories is one
example, and if any of you have other odd variants
it would be interesting to hear about them.


> ---- Original message ----
>>Date: Sat, 17 Aug 2002 17:16:58 -0400
>>From: j b krygier <jbkrygie at>  Subject: Curious ML Binding  
>>To: ModLib List <modlib at>
>>Hi Modlib people,
>>It has been quiet here!  We have added about
>>a dozen subscribers in the last month.
>>Here is a ML quiz: I put some images of
>>a copy of Irwin Shaw's 'Selected Short
>>Stories' on my WWW site: what Toledano
>>binding # is it?
>>images are here:

j   b   k r y g i e r

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d e l a w a r e  o h  4 3 0 1 5

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