[ModLib] Binding variant style 8 (Blumenthal)

jwol jwol at fast.net
Sun Jun 10 10:49:28 EDT 2012

My Odets first also has the torchbearer and cream endpapers.
My firsts of the Hear, Ye and Joe Andrews are sans the front torchbearer and
with cream endpapers.

-----Original Message-----
From: modlib-bounces at thuban.owu.edu [mailto:modlib-bounces at thuban.owu.edu]
On Behalf Of Gordon Barrick Neavill
Sent: Saturday, June 09, 2012 5:58 AM
To: For collectors of Modern Library books
Subject: [ModLib] Binding variant style 8 (Blumenthal)

In revising my entries for 1939 ML titles I discovered a variant form of the
style 8 binding designed by Joseph Blumenthal and first used in fall 1939.
Four titles were added to the ML fall 1939: Six Plays of Clifford Odets (67)
and Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle (115) in September, and Fielding, Joseph
Andrews (117) and Fineman, Hear Ye Sons (130) in October.  These were the
first four titles published in the Blumenthal binding. First printings of
all four have plain cream endpapers since Rockwell Kent needed time to
revise his endpapers for the larger format.

To my surprise, I discovered that the October titles, Joseph Andrews and
Hear, Ye Sons are bound in a variant of the Blumenthal binding that I've
seen nowhere else: there's no torchbearer on the front panel, and the outer
rule frame at the bottom is only half an inch from the dark title panel
instead of 5/8 inches (the extra eighth of an inch was needed to accommodate
the torchbear within the outer frame at the lower right).

My first printings of the September 1939 titles (Odets and Steinbeck) have
the torchbearer on the front panel. It's possible that my copies of these
first printings were bound later after the torchbearer on the front panel
was introduced, or it's possible that Blumenthal had second thoughts about
the front panel and tried a slightly different design for the October titles
that was later abandoned. The front panel without the torchbearer has a more
classical feel; the front panel with the torchbearer is more cluttered but
is probably more effective in a merchandizing sense in that it instantly
identifies the volume as a Modern Library book.

If anyone has copies of first printings of Odets or Steinbeck's In Dubious
Battle in bindings without the torchbearer on the front panel of the
binding, please let me know!

Gordon B. Neavill
Associate Professor
School of Library and Information Science Wayne State University
106 Kresge Library
Detroit, MI 48202
313-577-0507; 313-577-7563 (fax)

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