Riverside Library

Houghton Mifflin Co. (Boston, US)
Series dates: 1929-1935; sporadic reprints through 1972
Size: 5.75″ x 8.5″

Houghton Mifflin’s Riverside Library for Young People series was first published in 1889. That series lasted until the 1920s. The Riverside Library, ostensibly for adults, was initiated in 1929 and added titles until the mid-1930s. Some of the titles are for juvenile readers, and the series was marketed to high schools.


Thoreau’s Walden, published in 1929, is typical of the late 1920s and early 1930s editions of the Riverside Library. The books are larger in format and decently bound. Jackets are unique to each title. There is no indication of the series title on the jacket spine nor front. The series is noted on the front jacket flap, along with a series prospectus and price ($1). The prospectus stresses the fact that the buyer is getting a regular sized (not pocket-sized) book for $1. The larger size, it claims, “looks best on the library shelf.”


A quote from Anatole France is on the rear jacket flap. Books in the series are broken into several categories: fiction, essays, biography, outdoor & adventure, and poetry. 16 titles are listed.


Binding is a sturdy, coarse buckram in light brown with green printing on this particular copy. The binding and title page (both below) were designed by W.A. Dwiggins.


There is no half-title page. The title page is faced with an image of Walden Pond. The date of printing, 1929, is below the publisher’s imprint.


The copyright page:


A longer list of titles is included on a copy of Bret Hart’s Luck of Roaring Camp (not in my possession). The book is undated but was probably printed in the early 1930s. 29 titles are now in the series.