Red Label Reprints

Baker & Taylor Co. (New York, US)
Series dates: 1931-1940
Size: 5″ x 7.75″

The Red Label Reprints series was published by Baker & Taylor and reprinted recent religious titles published by Harpers, The Century Co., Bobbs-Merrill, and Henry Holt & Co. The series was announced in 1931 and titles were priced at $1. Baker & Taylor began as D. F. Robinson and Company in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1828 and was renamed Baker and Taylor in 1885. The firm is still active.

redlabel_logoThe series dates are a bit confusing: multiple sources indicate that the series launched in 1931. However, many titles have dates earlier than 1931 (as early as 1910, and many in the 1920s). While I have not reviewed actual copies to confirm this, it seems that Baker & Taylor may have reprinted books from the original plates with no or minimal changes. Thus the date in the book would be the date of original printing (on the plates). This procedure would also explain why some Red Label Reprint books are published under that imprint, and others under the imprint of the original publisher (such as the Bunyan book below). Ultimately, Baker & Taylor was trying to squeeze a few more dollars out of other publisher’s titles by reprinting them, and the changes (new title pages, etc.) were minimized.

The Life and Writings of John Bunyan by Harold Speight has a unique jacket design, reprinted (with a different color combination) from the original jacket on the 1928 Harper edition. Indeed, the book and binding seem to be either an exact reprint of the 1928 edition, or left over copies rejacketed and sold under the Red Label Reprint series. The series name is indicated on the jacket spine, and a summary of the book is included on the front jacket flap. This summary is exactly the same on the original book jacket.

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The rear of the jacket and back flap differ from the original jacket in that they include information on the series itself and a list of 24 titles. The rear flap also serves as a order form for titles in the series. Despite being published by Baker & Taylor, their name does not appear on the jacket (or in the book). The address (55 Fifth Ave, New York) is that of Baker & Taylor.

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The book binding and interior are all Harpers. Again, it is possible that this is a remaindered copy of the book, printed by Harpers, and jacketed as a Red Label Reprint book.

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The half title page:

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The title page with the date (1928) faced by an illustration of Bunyan.

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The copyright page indicates a first edition.

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The Red Label Reprints seem to have been discontinued around 1940.