John O’ London’s Little Books

George Newnes Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1924-1932
Size: 5.25″ x 6.5″

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George Newnes’ career in publishing began with his periodical Tit-Bits, funded by the profits from the sale (around 1881) of his popular vegetarian restaurant in Manchester. The Strand Magazine, which first published the Sherlock Holmes stories, was also a Newnes publication. George Newnes Ltd. continues as an imprint of Elsevier.

John O’ London’s Little Books, named after the Newnes’ periodical John O’London’s Weekly, were published from 1924 until 1932. A similar series, John O’ London’s Library, was published from 1934-1938. The Little Books are oddly shaped, nearly as wide as tall. The titles seem to be largely new edited collections, and shorter non-fiction. The serial numbering for the series indicates 18 titles, but one (#16) is unknown (see below).

This copy of the collection More London Stories is undated, but probably 1928. Jackets are common to the series, printed on different color heavy paper. a London skyline crosses the top of the jacket, with the series name and number beneath it. The book title (and author, if relevant) along with the price (2s./) are also on the front of the jacket. The jacket flaps are blank.

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The rear of the jacket lists the first 12 titles in the series.

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At least five and possibly six additional titles were published. There is no indication of a #16 title (WorldCat, other sources). It may have been planned but not published.

#13: George Blake, ed. Scottish Treasure Trove. 1928
#14: George Allardice Riddell. Looking Round: A Miscellany. 1929
#15: Thomas Shaw Craigmyle. The Trial of Jesus Christ. 1928
#16: ?
#17: Gabrielle Chesterton & Kenneth Chesterton. Who was –?: A Gallery of Immortal Characters. 1929
#18: Bernard Darwin. Second Shots: Casual Talks About Golf. 1930

The books are cloth-bound and repeat much of the dust jacket design, including the series name (but not the price and series number).

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This copy does not have a blank page before the half-title page. No page seems to have been removed, so this may be typical of the series. The half-title page includes the series name, number, and book title.

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A catalog of 12 titles in the series is on the reverse of the half-title page.

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The title page is faced by the one illustration in the book.

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There is no copyright information nor date, but a note does indicate the book was reprinted from an earlier two-volume illustrated set published by T.C. and E.C. Jack (and is reissued with permission of Nelson & Sons, who had acquired the Jack imprint).

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An advertisement for Newnes Strand Magazine is included on the last page in the book.

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