P. R. Gawthorn, Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1947-1948
Size: 5.25″ x 7.5″
A somewhat obscure London publisher, Gawthorne issued the Russell Classics series in 1947 with a “First Series” of six musty classics that reached at least 15 titles before the series was discontinued in the late 1940s. The location of the publisher at the time, on Russell Square, undoubtedly inspired the series name.
One of the initial six titles in the series, Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, is undated but WorldCat lists most of the Russell Classics titles with a 1948 date of publication. The jackets are a mottled heavy paper, meant, possibly, to impart an aged, classic look. A common jacket design consisting almost entirely of text can be found on all the titles in the series. The series name is on the jacket, and a summary of the book on the jacket flap. The series logo is on the jacket in several locations. Price is 7/6 net.
The back jacket cover lists the six titles published. Other titles are listed as in preparation.
Bindings are a fake leather material with (now faded) gold stamping on the spine.
The half-title page:
Each book has a color frontispiece. No other illustrations are evident in the books. The books show no date nor copyright indication.
A copy of Scott’s The Talisman indicates a few more titles have been printed, twelve in all. Of the titles in preparation, a few were published: Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Wood’s The Channings, and Wallace’s Ben-Hur. Thus the series reached at least 15 titles.
A few of the later titles have a newly designed jacket, with classical columns: