Odd Number Series

Harper & Brothers Publishers (New York, US)
Series dates: 1917-1928
Size: 4.5″ x 7″

An oddly named series, in this case after a collection of Maupassant short stories, The Odd Number, included in the series. “Some of the finest fiction of Europe is available in excellent English translations in this series.” Harper had an earlier series with the same name and focus on translated literature (roughly 1890-1905). Only a few titles, however, are shared between the two series (see some titles in advertisements below).

I have copies of what I believe are the last two titles issued in this second coming of The Odd Number Series. Comte de Gobineau’s collection of short stories The Crimson Handkerchief was published in 1927. The jacket front includes a description of the book, the front flap information on the series.


The rear jacket contains advertisements for other Harper books.


I have two copies of The Crimson Handkerchief. While the jackets and the interior of the books are the same, the bindings differ significantly.

The first, possibly earlier binding, is dark blue with extensive decoration. This binding style seems to follow the style used in the initial version of the series issued in the 1890s.


The second binding is much simpler (and is the binding used on what I believe is the last book in the series (Bewitched)


Similarly bound, Bewitched by J. Barbey D’Aurevilly (1928) has a differently designed jacket.



Titles in the 1917-1928 version of the series:

Maupassant, The Odd Number (1917)
Maupassant, The Second Odd Number (1917)
Jokai, Black Diamonds (1918)
Jokai, The Green Book (1918)
Jorge Isaacs, Maria (1918)
Misc., Pastels in Prose (illustrated by Henry W. McVickar) (1918)
Count de Gobineau, The Crimson Handkerchief (1927)
Barbey D’Aurevilly, Bewitched (1928)

The earlier Odd Number Series appears in several advertisements from about 1890-1910. Click on adverts for a larger version.

Harper’s Magazine, Volume 83, Issue 498, 1891


Catalogue of Harper & Brothers’ Standard Publications and Popular Works of Fiction, 1893


Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Volume 94, Issue 564, 1897