Travellers’ Library

Jonathan Cape (London, UK)
Series dates: 1926-1947; 1950-1955 (New Travellers’ Library)
Size: 4.75″ x 7″

Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith (New York, US)
Series dates: 1927-1930
Size: 4.75″ x 7″

William Heinemann Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1928-1932
Size: 4.75″ x 7″

The Traveller’s Library series name was used first by Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans (London, UK) for their Traveller’s Library series from about 1850-1862. The series consisted of reprints of books on, not surprisingly, travel.

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Times (London) Aug. 20, 1926

In 1926, Jonathan Cape reused the name for a series of titles drawn primarily from their back catalog with a general focus on travel and international authors. In 1927 the series began to be published in the U.S. by Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith. In 1928 William Heinemann Ltd. joined Cape to co-publish the series, adding new titles from Heinemann’s back catalog. Cape issued 218 titles in the initial series and an additional 7 titles as part of the New Travellers’ Library (in 1950). A few titles, such as e.e. cummings The Enormous Room, were only published by Cape and Smith in the U.S. Heinemann also issued unique titles as part of the series. The Travellers’ Library is an interesting example of a global collaboration between three publishers issuing titles in one similarly designed and formatted reprint series.

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An offer for Now & Then, Cape’s in house publication on books and authors. Tucked in a Travellers’ Library edition.

Two sources provide significant background on the Travellers’ Library, including a full bibliography with in print dates, numbers of reprints, and total copies printed. Information on this page is drawn from these sources.

Basil Savage. 1971. “Jonathan Cape and the Travellers’ Library.” The Private Library (Winter 1971), pp. 165-188.

Colin O’Hare. 19??. “Travellers’ Library.” Book Collector. [year and issue not indicated on the xerox copy I have, but published after the Savage article].

A bibliography of the series including first edition date, printings, reprints and total printed is taken from the O’Hare article and is here: “Travellers’ Library Complete Bibliography.”

See the end of this entry for a full list of authors/titles/dates.


travellerslib_advert_Dec16_1932Jonathan Cape worked for Duckworth in the 1910s and set out on his own in 1920, raising funds by selling cheap paperback reprints of the scandalous romanic novels of  Elinor Glyn (published by Duckworth, but they were not interested in issuing cheap reprints). With the money raised from that venture, Cape started his own firm and began assembling a collection of authors including T.E. Lawrence, H.G. Wells, Samuel Butler, James Joyce and U.S. authors such as Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway, Eugene O’Neill, H L Mencken, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway and Margaret Mead.

travellers_logo1When first issued The Travellers’ Library was praised for the high quality of the series books, both design and production. Jacket and book design changed very little until the jackets were redesigned in 1934.

Jackets from 1926 to 1934 were printed on gold colored paper. The jackets are common throughout the series, varying only in the author and title information. The Travellers’ Library is printed on the jacket spine and front cover. Front jacket flap includes the series number and a blurb about the title. Price is 3s./6d.

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Machen’s Dog and Duck (First Travellers’ Library edition, 1926) is an early issue in the series. The first 22 titles in the series are listed on the rear of the jacket.

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Bindings are medium blue cloth with gold stamping. The series name is not indicated on the book spine or cover.

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Series and title of book are indicated on the half-title page.

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Selected titles in the series are listed facing the title page.

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The copyright page indicates the initial publication date of each title, with printing (and reprinting) information in the Travelers’ Library.

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Some copies include a catalog for the series in the back of the book. One variant jacket from a 1928 first printing of Powell’s The Adventures of a Wanderer features an overprint indicating “First Publication in Volume Form.” In a way this is a true first edition book.

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Cape’s collaborative firm in New York, Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, published the Travellers’ Library in 1927-1930. The design of the jackets and books remains similar to the Cape copies. The dust jacket paper is a bit more orange than gold on these New York copies. Also, the series logo on the spine is placed lower than on Cape (and Heinemann) copies. Price is $1. Sullivan’s Aspects of Science is a 1927 first issue in the Travellers Library.

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A list of titles in the U.S. series is printed on the back of the jacket. Most of these are from the Cape U.K. series.

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Bindings are also nearly identical to the Cape UK copies.

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Half-title page follows the Cape UK copies.

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Titles available in the U.S. series are also listed facing the title page.

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Copyright and publication data remains the same as with the Cape UK copies. Of the 21 Cape & Harrison Smith copies I have, all printed during 1928-1929 indicate “Printed in Great Britain.” Most likely, these books are identical to the British editions and were completely printed and bound in England and shipped to the U.S. or printed in England and shipped to the U.S. where they were bound and/or jacketed. The different color paper used on the US copies suggest the jackets, at least, may have been printed in the US.

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A few titles issued after 1930 (Rosebery’s Napoleon [1930] indicate printing in the United States.

A catalog in the back of the Sullivan U.S. copy includes an annotated catalog of titles available in the U.S. in 1930:

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In 1928 Cape struck a deal with Heinemann to publish titles in the series drawn from Heinemann’s back catalog. Jackets and bindings remain the same, except for the publisher’s information. A few titles have both Cape and Heinemann listed as the publisher. At least 21 titles were unique to the series under the Heinemann imprint. The last unique Heinemann title was Maugham’s The Gentleman in the Parlour, shown below, printed in 1932.

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Reviews of the Travellers’ Library series are included on the back of the jacket. This same jacket back is used on Cape copies from the same time. New volumes are listed on the rear flap.

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Besides publisher indication, the bindings remain the same as the Cape editions.

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Half-title page is the same as the Cape edition.

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Title page remains unchanged from the Cape editions, with the exception of the publisher’s information.

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In 1934 jackets, but not books, are redesigned. The design is ugly to say the least, an attempt to jazz up the jackets during a downturn in the economy. A boat logo for the series is added to the spine, but the original logo remains at the base of the spine. Prices, at 3s./6d. remain the same.

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The back of the jacket advertises The Life and Letters series, which are similar titles to the Travellers’ Library but in a larger format.

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The book’s binding and pages remain unchanged from earlier series copies.

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This copy of Mencken’s Selected Prejudices is a 1937 8th printing in the Travellers’ Library.

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The list of titles goes up to 217:

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In 1940 Cape issued the Saint Giles Library which used sheets of unbound Travellers’ Library titles. Forty titles were issued in 1940, and none after. Much like with the redesigned dust jacket in 1934, repackaging the same titles as a new series was most likely an attempt to move unsold stock.


travellers_logo2In 1950, Cape revived the series with the New Travellers’ Library. In all, fourteen titles were issued, 8 new titles and 6 reprints from the original series. Reprints in the New Travellers’ Library are evident through 1955.

The jackets are redesigned with a stylized T and L which, while adds a clever dimensionality to the jackets, is less noticeable than the original series logo. The contrasting pastel colors are also a bit peculiar. The price has risen to 4s./6d. If the title is reissued from the original series, it maintains its serial number. In this case, Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, number 155 in the original and new series.

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The prospectus for the new series is on the back of the jacket. The jacket describes how WW2 forced the entire series out of print. The goal was to reissue many of the old series titles, and add new titles. This did not happen. 10 titles indicated on the rear jacket flap were issued, along with four more. Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms brought the series up to 224 volumes (although most were no longer in print). Number 225 may have been Iris Origo’s War in Val d’Orcia.

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Bindings are now red cloth with silver stamping. A stylized TL is stamped on the spine and cover and is somewhat at design odds with the TL used on the jackets.

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The half title page includes the TL logo, but not the series name.

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The title page:

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The copyright page. First issued in the Travellers’ Library 1930, New Travellers’ Library 1950.

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The New Travellers Library series was not a success. A few titles are reprinted through the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s (according to WorldCat) but no new titles were issued.


A full list of titles (slightly modified from Traveller’s Library: Book Series List):

1. Can Such Things Be?, Ambrose Bierce (1926)
2. The Black Dog, A E Coppard (1926)
3. The Autobiography of a Supertramp, W H Davies (1926)
4. Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis (1926)
5. The Craft of Fiction, Percy Lubbock (1926)
6. Earlham, Percy Lubbock (1926)
7. Wide Seas and Many Lands, A Mason (1926)
8. Selected Prejudices: Series 1, H L Mencken (1926)
9. The Mind in the Making, J H Robinson (1926)
10. The Way of All Flesh, Samuel Butler (1926)
11. Erewhon, Samuel Butler (1926)
12. Erewhon Revisited, Samuel Butler (1926)
13. Adam and Eve Pinch Me, A E Coppard (1926)
14. Dubliners, James Joyce (1926)
15. Dog and Duck, Arthur Machen (1926)
16. Kai Lung’s Golden Hours, Ernest Bramah (1926)
17. Angels and Ministers, Laurence Housman (1926)
18. The Wallet of Kai Lung, Ernest Bramah (1926)
19. Twilight in Italy, D H Lawrence (1926)
20. The Dream, H G Wells (1926)
21. Roman Pictures, Percy Lubbock (1926)
22. Clorinda Walks in Heaven, A E Coppard (1926)
23. Marius the Epicurean, Walter Pater (1927)
24. The White Ship, Aino Kallas (1927)
25. Multitude and Solitude, John Masefield (1927)
26. Spring Sowing, Lian O’Flaherty (1927)
27. William, E H Young (1927)
28. The Country of the Pointed Firs, Sarah Orne Jewett (1927)
29. Grecian Italy, H J Forman (1927)
30. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte (1927)
31. On a Chinese Screen, Somerset Maugham (1927)
32. A Farmer’s Life, George Bourne (1927)
33. The Cherry Orchard and The Seagull, Anton Tcheckoff (1927)
34. The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter, Ambrose Bierce (1927)
35. Captain Margaret, John Masefield (1927)
36. Blue Water, A S Hildebrand (1927)
37. Stories, Guy de Maupassant (1927)
38. While the Billy Boils: First Series, Henry Lawson (1927)
39. While the Billy Boils: 2nd Series, Henry Lawson (1927)
40. A Series of Uncommon Events, Capt. G Roberts (1927)
41. In Morocco, Edith Wharton (1927)
42. Gleanings in Buddha Fields, Lafcadio Hearn (1927)
43. Out of the East, Lafcadio Hearn (1927)
44. Kwaidan, Lafcadio Hearn (1927)
45. The Conquered, Naomi Mitchison (1927)
46. When the Bough Breaks, Naomi Mitchison (1927)
47. The Flying Bosun, A Mason (1927)
48. Later Days, W H Davies (1927)
49. The Eyes of the Panther, Ambrose Bierce (1927)
50. In Defence of Women, H L Mencken (1927)
51. Viennese Medley, E O’Shaughnessy (1927)
52. Precious Bane, Mary Webb (1927)
53. The Infamous John Friend, R S Garnett (1927)
54. Horses and Men, Sherwood Anderson (1927)
55. Selected Essays, Samuel Butler (1927)
56. A Poet’s Pilgrimage, W H Davies (1927)
57. Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan: Series 1, Lafcadio Hearn (1927)
58. Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan: Second Series, Lafcadio Hearn (1927)
59. The Travels of Marco Polo, M Komroff (1927)
60. Selected Prejudices: 2nd Series, H L Mencken (1927)
61. The World’s Back Doors, M Murray (1927)
62. The Evolution of an Intellectual, John Middleton Murry (1927)
63. The Renaissance, Walter Pater (1927)
64. Adventures of a Wanderer, S W Powell (1927)
65. Racundra’s First Cruise, Arthur Ransome (1927)
66. The Martyrdom of Man, William Reade (1927)
67. Autobiography, Mark Rutherford (1927)
68. The Deliverance, Mark Rutherford (1927)
69. The Revolution in Tanner’s Lane, Mark Rutherford (1927)
70. Aspects of Science: First Series, J W N Sullivan (1927)
71. Mastro-Don Gesualdo, Giovanni Verga (1928)
72. The Misses Mallett, E H Young (1927)
73. Selected Essays: 1st Series, Sir E Gosse (1927)
74. Where the Blue Begins, Christopher Morley (1927)
75. Selections from the Notebooks, Samuel Butler (1927)
76. Confessions of a Young Man, George Moore (1927)
77. The Bazaar, Martin Armstrong (1928)
78. Side Shows: Essays, J B Atkins (1928)
79. Short Talks with the Dead, Hillaire Belloc (1928)
80. Orient Express, John Dos Passos (1928)
81. Selected Essays: 2nd Series, Edmund Gosse (1928)
82. On the Eve, Ivan Turgenev (1928)
83. Fathers and Children, Ivan Turgenev (1928)
84. Smoke, Ivan Turgenev (1928)
85. Porgy, Dubose Heyward (1928)
86. France and the French, S Huddleston (1928)
87. Liv, Kathleen Coyle (1928)
88. Cloud Cuckoo Land, Naomi Mitchison (1928)
89. A Private in the Guards, Stephen Graham (1928)
90. Thunder on the Left, Christopher Morley (1928)
91. The Moon and Sixpence, Somerset Maugham (1928)
92. The Casuarina Tree, Somerset Maugham (1928)
93. A Poor Man’s House, Stephen Reynolds (1928)
94. William Blake, Arthur Symons (1928)
95. A Literary Pilgrim in England, Edward Thomas (1928)
96. Napoleon: The Last Phase, Earl Rosebery (1928)
97. The Pocket Book of Poems and Songs, Edward Thomas (1928)
98. Safety Pins, Christopher Morley (1928)
99. The Black Soul, Liam O’Flaherty (1928)
100. Christina Alberta’s Father, H G Wells (1928)
101. The Intimate Journals, Paul Gauguin (1928)
102. The Grub Street Night’s Entertainments, John Collings Squire (1928)
103. Oriental Encounters, Marmaduke Pickthall (1928)
104. The Little Karoo, Pauline Smith (1928)
105. The Mother, Grazia Deledda (1928)
106. Travellers’ Joy, W G Waters (1928)
107. Shipmates, F Riesenberg (1928)
108. The Cricket Match, Hugh de Selincourt (1928)
109. Rare Adventures and Painefull Peregrinations, William Lithgow (1928)
110. The End of a Chapter, Shane Leslie (1928)
111. Sailing Across Europe, Negley Farson (1928)
112. Men, Books and Birds, W H Hudson (1928)
113. Plays, Acting and Music, Arthur Symons (1928)
114. Italian Backgrounds, Edith Wharton (1928)
115. Flowers and Elephants, C Sitwell (1929)
116. The Moon of the Caribees, Eugene O’Neill (1929)
117. Between Earth and Sky, Konrad Bercovici (1929)
118. The House with the Green Shutters, George Douglas (1929)
119. Friday Nights, Edward Garnett (1929)
120. Diversions in Sicily, H Festing Jones (1929)
121. Days in the Sun, Neville Cardus (1929)
122. Combed Out, Frederick A Voigt (1929)
123. Contemporaries of Marco Polo, M Komroff (1929)
124. Tennyson, Hugh L Fausset (1929)
125. Captives of Tipu: Survivors’ Narratives, A W Lawrence (1929)
126. Memoirs of a Slave Trader, Theodore Canot (1929)
127. Black Laughter, Llewellyn Powys (1929)
128. The Informer, Liam O’Flaherty (1929)
129. The Beadle, Pauline Smith (1929)
130. Fishmonger’s Fiddle, A E Coppard (1929)
131. Friends in Solitude, P Withers (1929)
132. Wanderings and Excursions, J R McDonald (1929)
133. Wayfaring, Alice Meynell (1929)
134. Military Memoirs 1672-1713, Capt G Carleton (1929)
135. Books and Authors, Robert Lynd (1929)
136. A Gypsy of the Horn, R Clements (1929)
137. The Crimson Handkerchief, Count de Gobineau (1929)
138. A Cotswold Village, J A Gibbs (1929)
139. Not Published
140. More Obiter Dicta, Augustine Birrell (1930)
141. Liza of Lambeth, Somerset Maugham (1930)
142. A Privateer’s Voyage Round the World, Capt. George Shelvocke (1930)
143. Letters, Lady Montague (1930)
144. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert (1930)
145. Stalky’s Reminiscences, L C Dunsterville (1930)
146. The Story of the Jews, L Browne (1930)
147. Twenty-Five, Beverley Nichols (1930)
148. Memoirs, Sgt Bourgogne (1930)
149. Candles and Crinolines, D L Murray (1930)
150. Not Published
151. Nigerian Days, Archibald C G Hastings (1930)
152. Discoveries, John Middleton Murry (1930)
153. Half a Minute’s Silence, Maurice Baring (1930)
154. Selections from Byron, H Miles (1930)
155. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce (1930)
156. December the Fourteenth, Dmitriy Merezhkovsky (1930)
157. Thomas Carlyle, Mary A Hamilton (1930)
158. Black Sparta, Naomi Mitchison (1930)
159. Men Without Women, Ernest Hemingway (1930)
160. The Two Sisters, H E Bates (1931)
161. England’s Green and Pleasant Land, Anonymous (1931)
162. A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland, Samuel Johnson (1931)
163. The Wreck of the Medusa, A W Lawrence (1931)
164. The King of Schnorrers, Israel Zangwill (1931)
165. The Flying Draper, Ronald Fraser (1931)
166. The Old Wives’ Tale (Vol. 1), Arnold Bennett (1931)
167. The Old Wives’ Tale (Vol. 2), Arnold Bennett (1931)
168. Poor Women, Norah Hoult (1931)
169. Peter Ibbetson, George Du Maurier (1931)
170. The Art of Thinking, E Dimnet (1931)
171. Selections from Swift, C Davies (1931)
172. Kokoro, Lafcadio Hearn (1931)
173. Cavalleria Rusticana, Giovanni Verga (1931)
174. Broken Earth, M Hindus (1931)
175. Open All Night, Paul Morand (1932)
176. Closed All Night, Paul Morand (1932)
177. The Changing Face of England, A Collet (1932)
178. A Gift of the Dusk, Richard O Prowse (1932)
179. The Gentleman in the Parlour, Somerset Maugham (1932)
180. White Maa’s Saga, Eric Linklater (1932)
181. Frost in April, M Whitaker (1932)
182. Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen (1932)
183. The Song of the Lark, Willa Cather (1932)
184. Sir, Said Dr Johnson, Sir C Biron (1932)
193. In a Cumberland Dale, P Withers (1932)
185. Into the East, Richard Curle (1933)
186. By the Ionian Sea, George Gissing (1933)
187. Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen (1933)
188. An Hour of Spain, Azorin (1933)
189. Islanders, Peadar O’Connell (1933)
190. Two Years, Liam O’Flaherty (1933)
191. Green Hell, J Duguid (1934)
192. The Story of a Country Town, Edgar W Howe (c. 1934)
194. My African Neighbours, H Coudenhove (1933)
195. Autobiography of a Mountain Climber, Lord Conway (1933)
196. The Alps from End to End, Lord Conway (1933)
197. The Golden Wind, Ohta and Sperry (1933)
198. Thirty Tales, H E Bates (1934)
199. Murder for Profit, W Bolitho (1933)
200. But for the Grace of God, J W N Sullivan (1933)
201. Adventures Before Thirty, Algernon Blackwood (1934)
202. The Amateur Poacher, Richard Jefferies (1934)
203. Wildlife in a Southern County, Richard Jefferies (1934)
204. Aspects of Literature, John Middleton Murry (1934)
205. The Gamekeeper at Home, Richard Jefferies (1934)
206. Rod and Line, Arthur Ransome (1934)
207. Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat, Ernest Bramah (1935)
208. The Summer Game, Neville Cardus (1935)
209. The Men of Ness, Eric Linklater (1936)
210. The Meaning of Culture, John Cowper Powys (1936)
211. Deep Water and Shoal, W A Robinson (1936)
212. The House in Dormer Forest, Mary Webb (1936)
213. Byron, Andre Maurois (1936)
214. Private Papers of a Bankrupt Bookseller, Anon. (1936)
215. The Only Rose & Other Stories, S O Jewett (1937)
216. The Travellers’ Library Shakespeare, E E Reynolds (1937)
217. The Village Book, Henry Williamson (1937)
218. All the Conspirators, Christopher Isherwood (1939)