Boni & Liveright Modern Library

j b krygier jbkrygie at
Mon Jan 28 20:19:07 EST 2002

Scot Kamins wrote:

> The problem is the dust jackets themselves. DJs of the period were
> the most ephemeral of things. They were made of extremely thin paper,
> very cheaply made indeed. They tended to dry out and fall apart very
> quickly, especially if exposed to the elements.

And...if that were not enough: I would think that DJs are
more vulnerable on flex bound books than on hard cover
books.  Also, the populist nature of MLs doomed many to
being read and reread and circulated through used bookstores
where, if the DJ did survive, it would likely be shredded
on the shelves.  If MLs were seen as collectable - well, from
what I have read, the obsession with DJs is really a post WW2
phenomena.  So the B&L Modern Library editions - being
the oldest MLs obviously have no chance of surviving
with a DJ.

> Price range is $60-80 for damaged jackets, around $125 for VG-/VG-
> copies in the later catalogs and double that for 1st catalog examples
> (any of the the original dozen), and double that again - that is,
> $400 and up - for really fine examples.
> Could a normal person afford one? Depends on your definition of "normal."  :-D

But think about this: we collect in a series where the rarest
and most expensive book (and there are not really many of
them) might cost you $400 or $500, which in the world of
antiquarian and collectable books is probably on the
mid-lowish end of things.

On the other hand, you can and probably will find just
about any ML title - including B&Ls in a DJ, if you poke
around long enough.  And you won't have to pay $500.

I am curious if any of you out there have tales of
inexpensive B&Ls in DJs found in used bookstores?

I found one B&L in DJ (Schnitzler) among lots of old and
mostly valueless books that somehow escaped being pulped
during WW2. This store is in Milwaukee - 3 massive floors of
teetering shelves, dust, mold, poor lighting, grouchy owner.
5 hours of searching, but I got the book for $7.

The other B&L in DJ I have (O'Neill) was found in a small
bookstore (known for its inadequate selection of book club eds,
paperback pop fiction and romance novels) in Delaware OH
(where I work - quick, which mediocre president was born
here?). I found the book in the single shelf 'classics' section
and it was marked $3, but the lady gave me a dollar off
"because it is so old."


j   b   k r y g i e r

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