Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Book-Lover's Library Series, 1886–1902


"The Book-Lover’s Library" (BLL) was published in London by Elliot Stock. The series was edited by Henry Benjamin Wheatley (1838–1917), Vice-President and President of the Bibliographical Society, 1908–10, 1911–13. There appear to have been 26 volumes in the series, published between 1886 and 1902, all of them aimed at "the Bibliographer and all Book-Loving Readers." Since I am a Bibliographer and Book-Loving Reader, I have a hand-full of them (above), and I have read them all.

Volumes in the BLL series were issued (as advertised in 1902, below [NB "was first published"]) in three printing and binding styles: (A) on antique paper, with rough edges, in cloth, bevelled [178x110mm] (B) on hand-made paper, Roxburgh half morocco, with gilt top [185x110mm; 250 copies "for sale in England" thus] (C) on large, hand-made paper (by Van Gelder), bound in Roxburgh half morocco [220x178mm; 50 copies "for sale in England"]. In 1902 the prices in the UK were A: 4s 6d; B: 7s 6d; C: £1 1s; the prices in the US (ca. 1892) were A: $1.25; B: $2.50. As you can see in my first picture, at left, binding B dosen't age well.


My Checklist of the 26 volumes in the BLL series is below, numbered in the order that they I think they were released. I haven't been able to find a full list online, and the few claims I have seen about the number of volumes in the series both disagree about the total number of volumes and don't list the individual volumes. So, for instance, the British Library has a catalogue entry for the series, which claims that there were 28 volumes, but notes that their set "includes more than one edition of certain Works"—which are not named.


In 2010, a lot of 32 volumes was sold at auction (lot 347, here) as a "complete set," but only "some" of titles are mentioned in the catalogue entry for the lot, so it is not clear which volumes I exclude that the auctioneer believed had belonged to the series. However, the photograph that accompanies this lot (above) suggests why there might be some confusion about the number of volumes in this series (i.e., why the auctioneer might have been wrong that there were 32 volumes in the series). As you can see, partly visible, at the left of the photo, is W. Davenport Adams, Byways in Book-Land (1888).

If you look here you can see that Byways in Book-Landis not a part of the BLL series, although the paper, binding and price matches those in the BLL (i.e., it "is another of Mr. Stock's dainty little volumes, ever tempting in their cool green covers … [with] clear type and wide margins" as a reviewer states in The Reliquary 3 (1889): 59). Elliot Stock was famous for this type of book, it was his house style, rather than the distinguishing feature of volumes in the BLL series alone. Stock issued many dainty little bookish volumes, which cannot be differentiated from titles in the BLL by their appearance alone. Below, for instance, is J. Rogers Rees' Diversions of a Bookworm (1886) and The Pleasures of a Book-Worm (1886).

Volumes in the BLL series can only be established as belonging to the series if they appear in one of the publisher's lists of volumes in the BLL or if the text "The Book-Lover's Library" appears on the page facing their title-page. I have compiled the list below from four publisher's lists, two printed at the back of volumes from the series, and two leaflets from the publisher that I have otherwise acquired. The four lists (illustrated after the checklist) are:

1892a = A list of 14 titles printed in the back of Books Condemned to be Burnt (1892).
1892b = A list of 16 titles on a ca. 1892 leaflet advertising in the BLL series.
1902 = A list of 25 titles printed in the back of How to Make an Index (1902)
1910 = A list three reprints from the BLL on a ca. 1910 leaflet for "The 'How To' Series."

(The 'How To' series was comprised of J. D. Stewart, How to Use a Library (1910) and reprints of BLL nos.1, 11, 26). I have provided a code to show the order in which titles appear in the three main lists: 1892a and 1892b have the newest volumes, first; 1902 has the oldest volumes first.

* * * * *

01 Henry B. Wheatley, How to Form a Library (1886) [1892a.14; 1892b.16; 1902.01]

02 W. C. Hazlitt, Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine (1886; rpr. 1902) [1892a.13; 1892b.15; 1902.02]

03 G. L. Gomme, Literature of Local Institutions (1886) [1892a.12; 1892b.14; 1902.03]

04 H. Trueman Wood, Modern Methods of Illustrating Books (1886) [1892a.11; 1892b.13; 1902.05]

05 Henry B. Wheatley, The Dedications of Books to Patron and Friend (1887) [1892a.10; 1892b.12; 1902.06]

06 W. C. Hazlitt, Gleanings in Old Garden Literature (1887) [1892a.09; 1892b.11; 1902.07]

07 Frederick Saunders, The Story of Some Famous Books (1888) [1892a.08; 1892b.10; 1902.08]

08 William Blades, The Enemies of Books (1888) [1892a.07; 1892b.09; 1902.09]

09 W.A. Clouston, The Book of Noodles (1888) [1892a.06; 1892b.08; 1902.10]

10 Edward Smith, Foreign Visitors in England (1889) [1892a.05; 1892b.07; 1902.04]

11 Henry B. Wheatley, How to Catalogue a Library (1889) [1892a.04; 1892b.06; 1902.11]

12 John Pendleton, Newspaper Reporting in the Olden Time and Today (1890) [1892a.03; 1892b.05; 1902.12]

13 W. C. Hazlitt, Studies in Jocular Literature (1890) [1892a.02; 1892b.04; 1902.13]

14 L. A. Wheatley, The Story of the "Imitatio Christi" (1891) [1892a.01; 1892b.03; 1902.14]

15 J. A. Farrer, Books Condemned to be Burnt (1892) [1892b.02; 1902.15]

16 William Blades, Books in Chains (1892) [1892b.01; 1902.16]

17 Henry B. Wheatley, Literary Blunders (1893) [1902.17]

18 Gleeson White, Book-Song (1893) [1902.18]

19 R. B. Marston, Walton and Some Earlier Writers on Fish and Fishing (1894) [1902.19]

20 P. H. Ditchfield, Books that have been Fatal to their Authors (1895) [1902.20]

21 William Roberts, ed., Book-Verse (1896) [1902.21]

22 James E. Matthew, The Literature of Music (1896) [1902.22]

23 Frederick G. Kitton, The Novels of Charles Dicken (1897) [1902.23]

24 John Lawler, Book Auctions in England in the Seventeenth Century (1898) [1902.25]

25 Frederick G. Kitton, The Minor Writings of Charles Dickens (1900) [1902.24]

26 Henry B. Wheatley, How to Make an Index (1902)

* * * * *




No comments: