Hearst’s International Library

Hearst’s International Library Co. (New York, UK)
Series dates: 1913-1919
Size: 8.25″ x 5.5″

“In 1880, George Hearst, mining entrepreneur and U.S. senator, bought the San Francisco Daily Examiner. In 1887, he turned the Examiner over to his son, William Randolph Hearst, who that year founded the Hearst Corporation. Hearst began to purchase and launched other newspapers.”

“In 1903, Hearst created Motor magazine, the first title in his company’s magazine division. He acquired Cosmopolitan in 1905, and Good Housekeeping in 1911. The company entered the book publishing business in 1913 with the formation of Hearst’s International Library. Hearst began producing film features in the mid-1910s, creating one of the earliest animation studios: the International Film Service, turning characters from Hearst newspaper strips into film characters.” (source)

In the 1920s and 30s, Hearst was the largest media conglomerate in the world. The firm continues, privately owned by the Hurst family.

Hearst’s International Library is more of a company name than a series, and only marginally meets the rather broad standards of a series (as illustrated by the series at this site). But, given the name and the initial focus on reprints, it approximately fits into the category of a publisher’s series.

“William Randolph Hearst entered book publishing in the fall of 1913 with Hearst’s International Library Company at 119 West Fortieth Street in New York. The first publication of the company was Henry Thomas Buckle’s History of Civilization in England (1913), followed in 1914 by the first volumes of the National Dickens series, a cheap reprint of the forty-volume Chapman and Hall English National Edition. Chiefly a reprint house, with editions of Emerson, Poe, Shakespeare, and Plato, Hearst’s International Library did publish some original fiction and nonfiction, usually by authors who were writing for Hearst magazines.” (“Cosmopolitan Book Corporation.” American Literary Publishing Houses, 1900-1980: Trade and Paperback, edited by Peter Dzwonkoski, vol. 46, Gale, 1986, pp. 91-92.)

“In April 1919 Harold J. Kinsey, formerly sales manager for Doubleday, Page and Company, became manager of Hearst’s International Library Company. Later that year the name of the firm was changed to Cosmopolitan Book Corporation.” Saul Flaum took over from Anthony in 1929. By that time the firm had a very strong list of authors and original titles. “Hearst sold the business to Farrar and Rinehart in 1931. The Cosmopolitan list developed by Flaum helped launch Farrar and Rinehart into the forefront of American publishing.” (“Cosmopolitan Book Corporation.” American Literary Publishing Houses, 1900-1980: Trade and Paperback, edited by Peter Dzwonkoski, vol. 46, Gale, 1986, pp. 91-92.)

Henry Smith Williams’s book Modern Warfare was published in 1915, an original title published by Hearst’s International Library (before it became the Cosmopolitan Book Corporation). The jacket, like with other Hearst’s International Library titles is unique in design. Additional titles published by Hearst’s are advertised on the front (and rear) jacket flaps.

The back of the jacket is identical to the front of the jacket, a rather odd but not wholly unique jacket design (especially on earlier jackets).

A purple cloth binding with gold typography and a romantic war scene illustrating the book cover.

The half-title page:

Two illustrations face the title page, including a war air cigar. A sheet of tissue separates the illustrations from the title page.

The title page:

The 1915 date of copyright (and probably publication) is on the copyright page.