Week-End Library (Doubleday)

Doubleday, Page and Co. (New York, US)
Series dates: 1914
Size: 5″ x 7.5″

In 1910 Doubleday established its own printing plant at Garden City on Long Island. Probably the first reprint series to be published by Doubleday after the Garden City plant opened was their short-lived Week-End Library. Only four titles seem to have been published, all in 1914. The sales must have been disappointing for the series to end so abruptly, but this did not discourage Doubleday from reprint series: in 1922 they would launch the more successful Lambskin Library, and in 1923 the Garden City Publishing Co. imprint was established primarily for reprint series. Using the Garden City Publishing Co. imprint, Star Dollar Books were first issued in 1925 and the Sun Dial Library in 1929. The Series in Literature series followed (with a Doubleday, Doran & Co. imprint) in 1935.

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Doubleday’s Week-End Library (not to be confused by the later British Week-End Library series published by John Lane / The Bodley Head from 1927-1935) consisted of four Doubleday back catalog titles, all published in 1914:

Jack London: The God of His Fathers
Anna Katherine Green: The Circular Staircase
Frank Norris: McTeague
Fredric Viller: The Black Tortoise

Two of the titles (Green and Viller) were detective stories. This copy of Jack London’s The God of His Fathers is as the other four, dated 1914. The series name is included only on the jacket, not in or on the book itself. Jackets were common to the four titles in the series, with a very large illustration, incorporating the series name, of Joe Normal relaxing in his slippers, in a reclining chair, enjoying a title from the series. The jacket spine also includes the series name. A blurb about London is placed in the lower part of the front of the jacket. A series prospectus is included on the front jacket flap: “A series of standard popular novels at low prices.” The price is a quarter (25 cents).

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The rear of the jacket continues the barrage of advertising for the series: these books are required, it seems, if you really want a relaxing weekend, away from worrying about the rent, bills, and garden. Each title in the series is the price of a magazine. The four titles in the series are “thrilling” and include a “decorated paper wrapper.” The four titles are once again listed with blurbs for each. More volumes are promised, although none seem to have been published.

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Cloth bindings with black and red ink. This particular title includes a stylized JL logo. Other titles undoubtedly used a different decoration.

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The half title page:

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The title page includes the date of publication.

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The copyright page includes the original copyright of the book (1901).

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The last page of the book indicates it was printed at the Country Life Press at Garden City, NY.

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Doubleday would revive the Weekend-Library name for a literary anthology, issued about once a year from 1927-1930.