Little Golden Books

Doubleday Co. (New York, US)
Series dates: 1928-1930
Size: 4.25″ x 7.25″

The Little Golden Books series is not the Little Golden Books children’s series first issued in 1942 by Simon & Schuster. And it’s not technically a series, as only one title was ever issued. The series collected material from The Golden Book periodical, first published in 1925 by the Review of Reviews Corporation. A full copy of the July 1925 issue can be seen here. The magazine consisted of reprinted literary works from diverse but typically well-known authors, both literary and popular. Editor Henry Wysham Lanier (son of poet Sidney Lanier and a Doubleday Doran editor) seemed to be the guiding force behind the periodical, which was immediately popular and spawned several imitators. The Little Golden Books series was to reprint material from the Golden Book periodical, thematically arranged. The first (and to be the only) title was The Thing Called Love, edited by Lanier, which collected literary bits about love, previously published in the periodical. The book series may have been modeled after Palgrave’s Golden Treasury anthology, which inspired the Golden Treasury Series.

In 1928, the same year the only title in the series was published, Lanier’s brother Charles, a banker in New York, withdrew his financial support for the periodical, and Lanier resigned as editor. The periodical subsequently went through a series of editors, was reduced in size, and rapidly lost subscribers. It eventually combined with Fiction Parade, which had similar content, in 1935. The Fiction Parade and Golden Book ceased publication in 1938.

The book and jacket for The Thing Called Love are of much better than average quality for a 1920s series book. The jacket is illustrated in two colors (green and pink) with the series name prominent at the base of the front of the jacket. The illustration is signed (J.W.) on the illustration at the base of the jacket spine. The front flap includes the price ($2.50), a few quotes from the book (in pink), and a brief description of the book. This is a 1st edition and printing. A 1930, second printing is noted in WorldCat.

The rear of the jacket includes the Doubleday Doran colophon. The rear flap advertises seven Doubleday Doran novels.

The bindings are green cloth, quarter-bound with green printing over cream paper simulating a hinge on the front of the book. The title is printed on paper and affixed to the upper spine. There is no publisher’s imprint on the book’s binding itself.

Green endpapers:

The series is advertised with reference to the Golden Book Magazine. This title is listed as volume 1 in the series. Three additional titles, not yet (and never) published are listed: The Smiling Philosopher, It’s Human Nature, and The Tie that Binds. 

The half-title page:

The title page with the title printed in green ink. The 1928 date is included with the publisher’s imprint.

1928 is repeated on the copyright page, to Lanier, along with assorted copyright dates to The Review of Reviews Corporation. A first edition indicator is included. The book was printed at Doubleday’s Garden City, NY press.