[ModLib] Buckram Modern Library Ediitons

Brian LeMasters brianlemasters at gmail.com
Tue Jun 22 22:52:24 EDT 2010

Hello Roger,
I have no experience in the publishing of books, but I am a close 
observer of these buckrams, as I have a few myself.
Does the attached image convey the difference in buckram cloth grade 
which you asked about?  Close weave, coarser weave?
In my attempt to catalog these on my own, I have been naming their color 
as shades of blue... don't laugh!  Maybe grade of buckram is a better idea?
In the beginning, I only noticed one or two of these irregularities.  
Now I have found a half dozen - blue and brown.  Red, green, black, 
burgundy, gray and mustard are consistent.
The "close weave" or "light blue" example dates to Spring 1967.  The 
other example in the picture is undated (which I have found to be a 
large percentage of buckrams) due to lack of catalog in the rear of the 
text.  I have noticed the same difference in buckram cloth on Giants as 

As far as I can tell, the end paper construction is the same on all of 
the ML Buckrams.  See the website for the detailed picture.  ( 
http://www.modernlib.com/Identifiers/buckram.html  )
I have seen the regular and giants of the Modern Library in the late 
'60s use a covering resembling buckram but without the required cloth 
reinforced strip on the hinges.

I have buckrams with little text, big text, narrow or wide margins, 
barely legible type or crisp lettering.  Just last week I found my first 
buckram where the paper quality was compromised.  Some of the late 60's 
MLs are toned or have browned paper throughout.  The buckram that I 
found had mixed high quality/low quality paper in the different 
signatures (but again, no date).  Distracting more than irritating.


Roger Lathbury wrote:
>> Dear Experts:
>> I'm a listening member of this group. I love books, am a publisher 
>> myself (Orchises Press), a college professor, and a reader. To brag: 
>> I do have a nice _Gatsby_ first in dust jacket in the Modern Library, 
>> as well as a signed and annotated (by Fitzgerald himself!) _Gatsby_ 
>> (in rust colored balloon cloth), but I'm not centered on, as you 
>> folks are, the Modern Library itself. I did make one general post 
>> earlier, on the letterpress plates used to print Modern Library volumes.
>> Anyone who reads and appreciates the purveying of culture in America 
>> must come to terms with this series. Therefore, without collecting 
>> them, I have a number of volumes, including a rather nice, if not 
>> textually sophisticated or aware, _Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley_ 
>> (ed. Carlos Baker), in a brown buckram binding, and, as of last 
>> Thursday, thanks to 25¢ and a library sale, a buckram _Bernard Shaw's 
>> Plays_ (_Saint Joan, Major Barbara,_ and _Androcles and the Lion_). I 
>> bought it for the last two, not otherwise in my library. It didn't 
>> have a dust wrapper.
>> My questions are about the buckram versions of the Modern Library. 
>> Buckram is a lovely cloth. _Bernard Shaw's Plays_ looks like C grade 
>> rather than the F grade buckram I bought for my one venture into this 
>> cloth at my publishing company. The Shelley, however, seems of a 
>> higher grade--D. Are the earlier versions of buckram tighter weave 
>> than the later?
>> Also, I notice that _Bernard Shaw's Plays_ has a continuous endpaper 
>> whereas the Shelley is more elaborately and strongly produced, with a 
>> separated endsheet. The design of _Bernard Shaw's Plays_ is also 
>> later, of course. It still seems like a sturdy volume, but are all 
>> the later ones one endpaper, whereas the earlier ones separated?
>> Finally, was the grade of paper used for buckram volumes higher than 
>> that for the regular Modern Library? I note that _Bernard Shaw's 
>> Plays_ has a miscut signature--perhaps the result of a higher grade 
>> sheet?
>> Have I asked this clearly?
>> Grateful for any information.
>> With thanks.
>> Sincerely,
>> Roger Lathbury
>> _______________________________________________
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>> ModLib at thuban.owu.edu
>> http://thuban.owu.edu/mailman/listinfo/modlib
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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