Evergreen Library

The Walter Scott Publishing Company, Ltd. (London, Newcastle-On-Tyne, New York), Simpkin, Marshall & Co. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1925-1940
Size: 5.25″ x 6.5″

In a 1991 article about the Walter Scott Publishing Company John Turner briefly reviews the history of the publisher, established in 1882 by builder and contractor Walter Scott. Scott acquired the bankrupt Tyne Publishing Company in 1882 and used it as the basis of his company. Scott published a significant number of series, including the Camelot Classics edited by the young Ernest Rhys (who later edited Everyman’s Library), the Emerald Library, the Oxford Library, the Carnarvon Series, and the Cambridge Poets.

According to Turner, Scott was known to print books without his imprint, then sell the books to other publishers or booksellers to bind with their own title pages. Examples of this include books sold by J.M. Dent and Mudie’s Library. Dent, for example, bought both printed books and title pages with the Dent imprint from Scott and sold these as Dent publications early in his company’s career.

evergreen_lib_logoBooks could also be bought bound with the Scott imprint, then jacketed and resold by the publisher. That seems to be the case with these copies from the Evergreen Library. Without the jackets, these books would be Walter Scott Co. copies of the Evergreen Library series, given the publisher imprint on the title page. But the jacket indicates Simpkin as the publisher (Simpkin, Marshall and Company). It’s not clear if any other publisher bought the series from Scott and resold it as their own Evergreen Library (this would require a jacket with another publisher’s imprint). Walter Scott died in 1910 and the company lasted until 1931.

This copy of Smedley’s Lewis Arundel is undated (as is the other Scott/Simpkin Evergreen Library copy here, shown below). Given the demise of the Walter Scott Company in 1931 one might speculate that this particular book was printed before 1931. I can find one mention of advertising for Simpkin’s Evergreen Library (in The Publisher, 1927). But the book has an owner inscription from 1936. These books look more 1930s than 1920s, suggesting that Simpkin was selling Scott-printed Evergreen Library titles after Scott went out of business. There are bindings of Simpkin Evergreen Library books that look to be from the 1920s. It also seems that Simpkin may have had their own Evergreen Library in the 1850s-1870s. I have also seen early copies of the Evergreen Library with a Scott imprint with the series name at an angle across the lower right corner of the front of the book.

Jackets with the windmill in full color are common to titles in the series. The series name is indicated on the spine and mimics the wreath design for the series on the book itself. The wreath hints that this may be a series printed for Christmas gift sales. The price is 3/6 on the jacket flap. 100 or so titles are listed on the jacket flaps and back.

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Series titles include a few “handsomely illustrated” compilations of international humor. The hair in the scan below is from Festy, one of our cats, who likes to walk over the scanner.

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Bindings are grey cloth with the series name on the book.

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The frontispiece, a sketch by Boz from the book, faces the title page with the Scott imprint. There is no information on the copyright page.

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A second jacket, this Hunt’s Tales, with the same titles on the jacket.

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Collins reused the Evergreen Library name for a reprint series in the 1960s.