International Library

Stanley Paul & Co. (London, UK) & David McKay Co. (Philadelphia, US)
Series dates: 1923-1928
Size: 4.75″ x 7″

An international collaboration series by Stanley Paul & Co. in London and David McKay Co. in Philadelphia. The series began in 1923 and ended in 1928 when Stanley Paul went bankrupt (it was bought out by Hutchinson, Ltd. in 1929)

The International Library was much like the Lotus Library, a joint series between Collins and Greening (both UK) and Brentano’s (New York). The binding of the International Library is reminiscent of the Lotus Library, suggesting it was emulating that series. Also like the Lotus Library, the focus of the series was international fiction in translation.

Advertisement for the new International Library. The Times (London, England), Friday, Dec 14, 1923; pg. 9
Advertisement for the newly issued International Library from The Times (London, England), Friday, Dec 14, 1923; pg. 9

An undated but most likely 1923-1924 copy of Fortune du Boisgobey’s The Angel of the Chimes has an illustrated jacket unique to the title. The spine advertises “A New Series of Translated and Standard Fiction.” The front jacket advertises two of the six initial titles in the series. The series name is indicated on the base of the jacket spine.


The rest of the initial titles in the series are advertised on the rear jacket and jacket flap. No price is indicated on the jacket. This may be one of the copies sold in the U.S.


Bindings are nicely debossed black cloth.


Facing the half-title page is a catalog of the initial series titles.


An illustration from the book faces the title page. A frame encompasses the title along with the publisher information on the title page.


The books were printed in Great Britain. It’s not clear if any copies were printed in the U.S. It would not have been uncommon for printed, bound and jacketed copies to be shipped to and sold in the U.S. by McKay.


The second jacket, from Kuprin’s Sasha, has a somewhat campy design unique to the title. On this copy, the 2/6 price is printed on the jacket spine (thus a copy to be sold in the U.K.). The same “New Series of Translations…” is on the jacket spine. Given the additional series titles on the jacket, this was probably printed near the end of the series (and Stanley Paul & Co.) in 1926-1928. The 23 titles listed in the series are likely to be most of the titles published before the series ended in 1928.


The back of the jacket includes a map showing the home countries of the authors in the series. Not so much international as European, not U.K. F.L. Lawson-Johnson is indicated as the series editor. His name is not on the jacket or binding of the Boisgobey copy above.


The binding is the same as the earlier copy, but gold stamping is added to the binding. Some copies have light binding with black stamping for the lettering and design on the books.


An author image faces the title page, designed as on the earlier copy.


A list of titles in the series, probably complete, faces the preface.