Gateway Library

Methuen & Co., Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1924-1940
Size: 4.5″ x 7″

Methuen’s Gateway Library seems to be closely related to their Modern Masterpieces series, in essence, similar (and the same) titles sold as two different series.

Ad for Methuen's Gateway Library from The Times (London, England), Friday, May 17, 1929; pg. 19.
Ad for Methuen’s Gateway Library from The Times (London, England), Friday, May 17, 1929; pg. 19.

This 1933 edition of Lucas’ Landmarks shows a simple, common jacket design with the series name indicated on both the spine and top front of the jacket. A summary of the title is on the front flap. Price, indicated on the spine, is 3s/6d.


The back of the jacket urges the viewer to see the reverse of the jacket for a list of titles in the series.


Titles in the series are printed on the inside of the jacket. Many of these titles are also in the Modern Masterpieces series.


Bindings are identical to bindings in the Modern Masterpieces series from the same time. More or less, Methuen was repackaging the same books in different series. Sheets for the books are printed and warehoused. As needed, the sheets are pulled, a new title page and, possibly, a catalog is added, then bound and jacketed. In the case of the Modern Masterpieces and Gateway Library, the series title is on the jacket and possibly the first few pages of the book. Ultimately, this seems to be a way to maximize flexibility, to not get stuck with too many bound books (for poorly selling titles) or to maximize sales if a particular book in a particular series seems to be selling well.


The half title page includes the series name. This page, along with the catalog at the back and jacket would be printed and added to the sheets for the already printed book (which has no indication of the series or library the book is from).


Additional titles by the author are listed facing the title page.


The copyright and printing information faces the index, reverse the title page.


Later copies of the Gateway Library include a different jacket with a graphic design showing, unsurprisingly, a gateway (below, left). Paperbound books in the series also appear in the late 1930s (below, right).

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