Bodley Head Library

John Lane | The Bodley Head (London, UK)
Series dates: 1937-1941, 1946-1970
Size: 4.5″ x 7″

bodley_logoThe Bodley Head Publishers, established in 1887, had run into financial difficulties in the mid-1930s. “It continued after 1936 backed by a consortium of Allen & Unwin, Jonathan Cape, and J. M. Dent. Allen Lane, John Lane’s nephew who had inherited control, finally left to found Penguin Books.” (Wikipedia)

As all three publishers guiding Bodley Head after 1936 had significant reprint series, this may have suggested the development of the Bodley Head Library, consisting of titles from the publisher’s back catalog.

Jackets are common in design, varying only in the author and title. The Bodley Head logo is used on both the spine and jacket front. A blurb about the series is included on the front jacket flap, as is the price (3s./6d).


The bindings are decorated, with the author and title of the book impressed on the front cover.


The book’s endpapers are decorated in a manner not unlike the endpapers of Everyman’s Library.


A list of the first 12 titles is included on this early edition jacket, rear flap. At least several dozen additional titles were published before WW2.


The Bodley Head Library was redesigned and reissued after WW2 (in the late 1940s and 1950s). It also seems to have been redesigned and published again in the 1960s and 1970s.