[ModLib] Lord Jim Mystery

Gordon Neavill aa3401 at wayne.edu
Sun Apr 5 21:19:45 EDT 2009

The spring 1931 first printing of Lord Jim is larger than the standard size of the balloon cloth bindings. The ML was printing from Doubleday plates previously used for the Sun Dial Library and other Doubleday editions of Conrad and enlarged the size of the volume so the margins wouldn't be razor thin. The binding is 6-7/8 x 4-5/8 inches. The Kent endpapers, designed for the smaller standard size of ML books, have white borders at the left and right edges of the endpaper. I don't have a later balloon cloth printing to compare with the first, but I suspect the ML decided it was easier (and cheaper) to revert to the standard format -- with the result is that the fall 1931 jacket doesn't fit the first printing.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Sun, 05 Apr 2009 20:36:37 -0400
>From: "JOHN PETERSON" <jpetersonlhi at verizon.net>  
>Subject: [ModLib] Lord Jim Mystery  
>To: "For collectors of Modern Library books" <modlib at owu.edu>
>   A while back I found a strange book in an antique
>   mall.  It was a copy of Wuthering Heights (#7
>   binding which dates to Fall, '32), which had a Lord
>   Jim DJ (dating to Fall, '31).  The book was in
>   terrible shape, but the DJ wasn't bad.  Because it
>   was only $1, I bought it, thinking that I'd keep an
>   eye out for a DJ-less Lord Jim of similar vintage. 
>   Yesterday I found a pretty good FMLE Lord Jim
>   (Spring '31, #6 binding) without a DJ for $5.  My
>   self-congratulation turned to consternation when I
>   matched the Conrad DJ to the book, and found that
>   the book is almost 1/4" taller than the DJ!
>   My first thought was that the DJ had been defaced to
>   fit the smaller Bronte title by some ruthless
>   antique dealer, but close examination of the DJ
>   indicates otherwise.  The green bands at the top and
>   bottom of the DJ are exactly the same widths as
>   those on my other balloon cloth DJs.  The only two
>   other explanations I can think of are that a.) the
>   FMLE Lord Jim is taller than some later printings,
>   or b.) That my DJ was mistakenly put on the wrong
>   book at the publishing house--although the DJ is a
>   year older than the book it wrongly covered.
>   Any guesses as to what's going on here?  Anybody
>   know how to stretch a 78 y/o DJ?
>   John Peterson
>ModLib mailing list
>ModLib at owu.edu
Gordon B. Neavill
Associate Professor
Library and Information Science Program
106 Kresge Library
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202
313-577-0507 (tel); 313-577-7563 (fax)
aa3401 at wayne.edu

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