Albemarle Library

John Murray (London, UK)
Series dates: 1947-1978
Size: 5.25″ x 8″

The publisher John Murray, founded in 1768, had an impressive back-list of titles available by 1947 when the Albemarle Library began. The series is to be, according to an announcement in The Publisher (vol. 161, 1947), “a comprehensive library of contemporary non-fiction works by modern authors, on a wide range of subjects.” Titles in the series were carefully edited and, in some cases, condensed or modified from the originals to make the books more accessible for a modern audience. In the case of Memoirs of a Highland Lady, below, the original nearly 500-page book was edited down to about 300 pages. These edits were, however, seemingly done by competent, academic editors.

Some titles were issued as paperbacks with the series name Albemarle Library for Schools beginning around 1959.

Dust jackets are common to the series in most cases. A few unique designs were used, such as that for C.F. Meade’s Approach to the Hills, originally published in 1940 and reissued in the Albemarle Library in 1947. This was probably because a recent set of jacket artwork was available.

The common jackets consist of red typography over a grey printed background. This copy of Elizabeth Grant’s Memoirs of a Highland Lady was originally published in 1897. The title, series name and publisher’s imprint and colophon are included on the jacket spine. The series name is also included, as a series colophon, on the front of the jacket. The front jacket flap contains a brief biography of the author, and the price of 1 pound, net.

The back of the jacket is printed in grey, but with no typography. The rear flap lists titles in the series, at this time 9 books. At least 8 more titles were published in the series, or in the Albemarle Library for Schools (available in paperback and hardcover in most cases), for a total of 17 titles:

The Last of the Empresses: and the Passing from the Old China to the New, Daniele Varè. 1947
Edward Wilson of the Antarctic: Naturalist and Friend, 
George Seaver. 1959
Aspects of Science Fiction,
 Geoffrey Donald Doherty, compiler. 1959. Revised 1965
The Comic World of Dickens, Selected and Introduced by Bernard N. Schilling. 1959
The Albemarle book of Modern Verse for Schools, by F.E.S. Finn. 1961
Humorists of the Eighteenth Century, by George Glencairn Urwin. 1962
Aspects of the Short Story, by E.L. Black & J.P. Parry. 1965
A Ring of Bells: Poems of John Betjeman. 1967

Cream colored cloth bindings include red typography on the book spine along with the publisher’s name, but no series name.

The half-title page:

A catalog of 8 titles (all but the Memoirs) faces the title page. The title page includes the series colophon.

A detailed publishing history is included on the copyright page, consisting of the original edition (1898), its sixth impression (1928), the initial Albemarle Library edition published in 1950, and this, the third printing in the series, in 1967. The book was printed in Great Britain Butler & Tanner, Ltd.

The table of contents:

The table of contents and illustrations:

The first page of text: