Hurst’s Poetical Classics

aka/ Poetical Classics

Hurst & Company (New York, US)
Series dates: 1907-1911
Size: 4″ x 6″

hurst_logoElectrotyper Thomas D. Hurst began the firm of Hurst & Co. in 1871 and between that year and the demise of the company in 1919 issued many dozen series of reprinted books, mostly hardcover, small in size (12vo and 16vo), printed on cheap paper and cheaply bound. The firm was not adverse to printing pirated books. An advertisement from 1911 (below) lists the formidable number of series with the number of titles and cost. The emphasis here is on offering a panoply of series, many in curious and seriously odd bindings, to appeal to just about any aesthetic desire.


Hurst churned these reprint series from his New York City manufacturing plant, at 135 Grand St., shown below (source).


Hurst’s Poetical Classics series with its 40 titles at 35 cents each was jacketed in plain paper with no mention of the actual title on the front of the jacket. “Gems in Verse, Exclusively” the jacket proclaims.


The back of the jacket advertises 36 titles, so this undated book is probably in the 1908-1910 range. .35 cents each, or three for $1. A complete catalog is on offer. “It will” they promise, “interest you.” The firm, at this time, is located on Broadway in New York.


The white stamping on the book has largely fallen off. The binding is a rough feeling, thick plasticized material. A decorative paper illustration is glued to the front of the book.


An illustration of the author faces the title page. No dates, copyright or printing information is included in the book. No mention of the series is printed in the book.