Mellifont Classics

Mellifont Press, Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1944-1960
Size: 4.25″ x 7″

Mellifont Press began publishing in Dublin around 1921 with a mixture of Irish political titles, children’s books, fiction and other miscellanies. The Press later has a London imprint. Later titles include a range of pulp fiction, science fiction, and cheap reprint classics.


Paperbound titles in the Mellifont Library were published from about 1937-1950. Titles included modern fiction and non-fiction. Titles in the Mellifont Library had dust jackets. The Mellifont Classics were hardcover titles published from about 1944-1960. The series contained out-of-copyright classics printed and bound very cheaply.

Jackets and books in the series look older than they are, with lurid jackets and very cheap paper and binding, resembling the Readers Library titles of the late 1920s. It is possible that Mellifont acquired some old printing plates from the Readers Library or a similar series. Alas, the overall 1920s design of the books seems intentional, almost a pastiche of sorts.

This copy of Dumas The Forty-Five Guardsmen is undated, but probably among the first titles issued around 1944. A gift inscription includes a 1946 date. Jackets are unique to each title with illustrations based on the book. The series name is not indicated on the jacket front or flap, but the series number is on the jacket spine. A summary of the book is on the front jacket flap, as is the price (2s./6d.).


The back of the jacket indicates 24 titles in the series, numbered up to 28 (thus the titles were being published out of serial order). Another 12 titles are to be “ready shortly.” At least 50 titles were published. The English Digest, first published in 1939, is advertised on the back flap of the jacket.


Binding is cardboard printed with rather antiquated looking designs common to the titles in the series.


The books have a description of the title along with the title page printed on the endpapers. This rather odd choice possibly had to do with saving the cost of a few extra pages at the beginning and end of the book, but that seems hardly worth the effort. The design of the borders on these two pages seems inspired by the cheap reprint series of the 1920s.


The copyright page is blank.


The last two pages of the book are printed as endpapers. Page 285 is glued to the back book cover. The last page also includes printer information. In this case, the books were printed in Dublin.