[ModLib] First Twelve B&L Jackets

Gordon Barrick Neavill neavill at wayne.edu
Sat Dec 17 09:54:27 EST 2011



I would like to establish how many of the first twelve B&L titles are known to exist in first-printing jackets. First printing jackets are printed on brown paper, list the first 12 titles on the front and back flaps, have dark reddish orange bands near the top and bottom that extend the entire width of the jacket (front, back, spine, and both flaps), and have a dark reddish orange paragraph symbol at the beginning of the first 4 or 5 lines of descriptive text on the front panel. They're also shorter than the books themselves, leaving about 1/8 inch of the imitation leather binding exposed at the top and bottom.  (I wonder if this was deliberate so that potential customers would notice how the books were bound.) 



The first printing jacket of  Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra (ML 9) is illustrated on p. 55 of Tom Dardis's Firebrand: The Life of Horace Liveright. The dark reddish orange paragraph symbol on the front panel doesn't show in the b&w p hotograph as printed. The credit states "Gordon B. Neavill collection" but I only supplied the photo. The photograph was originally taken to illustrate my early article, "The Modern Library Series: Format and Design, 1917-1977" in the first issue of Printing History (vol. 1, no. 1, 1979). (The Printing History reproduction of the photo is trimmed so you can't see the binding extending beyond the jacket.) I'm pretty sure the book was in the collection of the late John I. Ely of New Haven, Conn., who was one of the pioneering ML collectors. John's collection is now at the Beinecke Library at Yale. 



I have the first printing of ML 2, Strindberg's Married, in a jacket that's in very good condition, given its age and the cheap paper it was printed on. I also have a portion of the first printing jacket of ML 7, Anatole France's The Red Lily. This consists of a clipped front panel with title, author, and descriptive paragraph along with a clipped title and author portion of the spine, both of which are pasted onto brown paper folded into a makeshift jacket. 



If you have any of the May 1917 jackets, please reply to the list or (if you prefer anonymity) reply privately to me at aa3401 at wayne.edu  and I'll compile a tally of which jackets (and how many) are currently owned by ML collectors.  I won't indicate who has which jackets. I don't know anyone who has a first printing jacket for The Picture of Dorian Gray, but there may be one out there somewhere! 



At this point, please respond only if you have a first printing B&L jacket, not a jacketed copy of a later B&L printing of one of the first 12 titles. 



Thanks, 



Barry 



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