Blue Jade Library

Alfred A. Knopf (New York, US)
Series dates: 1925-1935
Size: 5.75″ x 8″

bluejade_logoKnopf’s Blue Jade Library was roughly concurrent with its more diminutive sized but more extensive series the Borzoi Pocket Books. Blue Jade Library titles were a curious collection of exotic and decadent literature: “to cover the field semi-classic, semi-curious books… which for one reason or another have enjoyed great celebrity but little actual distribution.” (Source: Print Culture in a Diverse America, 1998, p. 265). By and large, these are titles that may have been too peculiar for the more stoic Borzoi Pocket Books series. The series seems to have been largely chosen by then Knopf author, critic and photographer Carl van Vechten.

A probably complete list of titles (Source: The Blue Jade Library):

James Morier: The Adventures of Hadji Baba of Ispahan
The Memoirs of Carlo Goldoni
Theophile Gautier: A Romantic in Spain
Martin A.S. Holme: Sir Walter Raleigh
Francis de Quevedo-Villegas: Pablo de Segovia
Auguste Villiers de L’Isle-Adam: Sardonic Tales
Frederick Rolfe: Hadrian the Seventh
Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker): Max Havelaar
The Letters of Abelard and Heloise
Haldane MacFall: The Wooing of Jezebel Pettyfer
Stendhal: The Life of Henri Brulard
A. Kippis: Captain Cook’s Voyages
Morley Roberts: Rachel Marr
Marmaduke Pickthall: Said the Fisherman
Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly: The Diaboliques
Richard Garnett: The Twilight of the Gods
James Weldon Johnson: The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man
Evariste-Régis Huc (Père Huc), Travels in Tartary (information from David Paul Wagner)

A list of series titles with descriptions can be found in a 1927 copy of Evariste-Régis Huc (Père Huc), Travels in Tartary (click for larger view):

Earlier text jackets are replaced by uniquely illustrated jackets for each title. The series name is not included on the jacket front nor back. Advertisement for new Knopf books takes up the front jacket flap. This copy of Marmaduke Pickthall’s Said the Fisherman was published in the series in 1933 (first published in the series, 1925).


The book and author are described on the back of the jacket. The back flap advertises Knopf’s The American Mercury periodical.


The first indication that this book is in a series is the series name on the front of the red, cloth book with black text and decorations.


The series name is also included on the half-title page:


A subset of titles in the series is listed facing the title page. The date of publication is included with the publisher’s imprint.


The copyright page: