J.H. Sears Co. (New York, US) & Kingsport Press (Kingsport, TN, US)
Series dates: 1925-1930
Size: 4.75″ x 7″
Sears and the Kingsport Press collaborated on the Readers Library series with the Readers Library Publishing Co. (London, UK) from about 1924-1930. Around the same time, Sears initiated three of their own classics series, more upscale than the .10 cent Readers Library: The Royal Collection, The Royal Blue Library and the Royal Red Library. The Royal Blue Library were reprints of typical classic titles, with at least 65 titles issued in the series. The Royal Red Library were all two volume titles (with some overlap with the Royal Blue Library). The series sold for .75 cents.
Royal Blue Library jackets are common to the series, dark blue with the series logo on the front of the jacket. This particular title, Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield, is undated but probably the first year of the series, 1925, given the number of titles listed on the jacket. The series name is not on the front or spine of the jacket. The flaps are blank.
The initial 35 titles in the series are listed on the back of the jacket.
The binding for this early title in the series is a smooth, supple fake leather (but less fake than later binding materials). Gold stamping that mimics design elements on the dust jacket.
Endpapers are marbled paper.
Title pages remain unchanged through the duration of the series. No dates nor indications of the series are included in the books themselves.
This jacket for Balzac’s Pere Goriot is the same as the earlier (Goldsmith) jacket, except for an expanded list of titles – a total of 45 titles at this point. Again, not dated, but maybe late 1925 or early 1926.
Bindings have changed to a shiny, fake leather material. Stamping remains the same as the earlier (Goldsmith) copy.
The endpapers have changed to an abstract blue patterned paper.
With 65 titles on the jacket, this copy of France’s The Red Lily is undated but maybe later 1926. A series prospectus is added to the extended-length front jacket flap. The typical ode to classics is included, as well as accolades for the book design and production, in particular the material the books are bound in, “exclusively fabricated for the Royal Blue Library.” The price is added to the jacket flaps, .75 cents.
An extended list of titles in the series fills the back of the jacket and rear flap.
Along with the Readers Library and the Royal Collection, the Royal Blue Library seems to be discontinued around 1930.