Landmark Books – First-Rate History Series for Readers and Collectors

“One of the most critically acclaimed, best-selling children’s book series ever published.” – The New York Times

Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde, by Harold Lamb (NY: Random House, 1954) World Landmark Series

I doubt you hold affectionate feelings for any history textbook that you read during your school years, or that you have any brilliant memories of what you learned from its pages.   But if, while growing up, you were lucky enough to read the vividly written history books in the Landmark series, what you read there may still be burned into your memory; you may even still have the books.

George Washington - Frontier Colonel, by Sterling North (NY: Random House, 1957) American Landmark Series


The Story of Atomic Energy, by Laura Fermi (NY: Random House, 1961) World Landmark Series

The original Landmark series of children’s books are high quality non-fiction, hardcover books that focus on the legendary people and events in American history.  They were written for children and young adults, generally ages 10-15.  Children enjoy reading these books.  Because the content is rich and they are expertly written, many adults enjoy reading and collecting them as well.  They are very popular with home-schoolers.  It’s been said that if a student were to read all of these books through their years at school that they would have a better history education than 95% of all high school seniors.

Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia, by Margaret Cousins (NY: Random House, 1952) American Landmark Series

The books were the brainchild of a thinktank at Random House and were published between 1950 and 1970, utilizing the best authors they could recruit.  Many were award-winning authors, or people who had expertise or first-hand experience in the subject matter.  The series included writers such as Sterling North, Pearl S. Buck, John Gunther, Quentin Reynolds, Van Wyck Mason and C.S. Forrester.

Random House issued the first 103 titles in the Landmark book collection in illustrated dust jackets and offered these trade editions for sale in department stores and at retail booksellers.   Random House also offered the first 103 titles in the collection as book club editions, issued from the same print runs as the trade editions. The book club editions were issued monthly for $ 1.50 plus shipping, and can be identified by the “Young Readers of America Selection” notation on the front inside flap of the dust jacket.  The book club editions can occasionally be found with the “letter from the author” which was included. Keep in mind that the signatures on the letters are facsimile signatures; they are not actually hand-signed by the authors.  First Printings will have a “First Printing” statement on the copyright page, and a price on the dustjacket flap (if jacketed).

Young Readers of America Selection (Book Club statement at top inside front flap)

In 1963, with the publication of volume #104, Random House began to issue the Landmark books in pictorial cover format which featured cover art printed directly on the boards of the book, and were no longer issued with dust jackets. First printings of volumes #104 through #122, and later reprints of the earlier 103 titles, were issued in the pictoral board format.  The books were illustrated either with two-color drawings or clear photographs.

Landmark books are the American history series.  There are 122 titles in all and they were published from 1950 to 1970.  The American Landmark books have a small banner-like logo with the series number in the upper right corner on the front of the dust jacket.

World Landmark books are the world history series and there are 63 titles, published from 1953 to 1968.  The World Landmark books have a circular logo with the series number in the upper right corner of the front of dustjacket.

The F.B.I., by Quentin Reynolds (NY: Random House, 1963) American Landmark Series

The original Landmark series books are out of print but most are readily available at reasonable prices through used book stores.     Prices are quite reasonable on Landmark books—generally $10-$20 or less, depending on edition and condition.  As in any book series, some titles are going to be much harder to find than others, and the rarer ones can be higher-priced – even in to the three figure range.  The Mysterious Voyage of Captain Kidd by Whipple is considered the rarest of all – it is Volume No. 122 – the last in the series.  The first book in the American Landmark series (#1) was The Voyages of Christopher Columbus, by Armstrong Perry.

Here is an alphabetical list of all the titles in the original American Landmark and World Landmark series (185 in all):

 Abe Lincoln: Log Cabin to White House by Sterling North
 The Adventures & Discoveries of Marco Polo by Richard J. Walsh
 The Adventures of Ulysses by Gerald Gottlieb
 The Alaska Gold Rush by May McNeer
 Alexander Hamilton & Aaron Burr by Anna & Russell Crouse
 Alexander the Great by John Gunther
 The American Revolution by Bruce Bliven Jr.
 Americans into Orbit: The Story of Project Mercury by Gene Gurney
 America's First World War: General Pershing by Henry Castor
 Andrew Carnegie & the Age of Steel by Katherine B. Shippen
 Balboa: Swordsman & Conquistador by Felix Riesenberg
 The Barbary Pirates by C. S. Forester
 The Battle for Iwo Jima by Robert Leckie
 The Battle for the Atlantic by Jay Williams
 The Battle of Britain by Quentin Reynolds
 The Battle of the Bulge by John Toland
 Ben Franklin of Old Philadelphia by Margaret Cousins
 Ben-Gurion and the Birth of Israel by Joan Comay
 Betsy Ross & the Flag by Jane Mayer
 Buffalo Bill's Great Wild West Show by Walter Havighurst
 The Building of the First Transcontinental Railroad by Adele Nathan
 The California Gold Rush by May McNeer
 Captain Cook Explores the South Seas by Armstrong Sperry
 Captain Cortes Conquers Mexico by William Johnson
 Catherine the Great by Katherine Scherman
Chief of the Cossacks by Harold Lamb
 Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross by Helen Boylston
 Cleopatra of Egypt by Leonora Hornblow
 Clipper Ship Days by John Jennings
 Combat Nurses of World War II by Wyatt Blassingame
 The Coming of the Mormons by Jim Kjelgaard
 The Commandos of World War II by Hodding Carter
 Commodore Perry & the Opening of Japan by Ferdinand Kuhn
 The Conquest of the North & South Poles by Russell Owen
 The Copper Kings of Montana by Marian T. Place
 The Crusades by Anthony West
 Custer's Last Stand by Quentin Reynolds
 Daniel Boone and the Opening of the Wilderness Road by John Mason Brown
 Davy Crockett by Stewart H. Holbrook
 Disaster at Johnstown: the Great Flood by Hildegarde Dolson
 The Doctors Who Conquered Yellow Fever by Ralph Nading Hill
 Dolly Madison by Jane Mayer
 Dwight D. Eisenhower by Malcom Moos
 The Early Days of Automobiles in America by Elizabeth Janeway
 The Erie Canal by Samuel Hopkins Adams
 Ethan Allen & the Green Mountain Boys by Slater Brown
 Evangeline & the Acadians by Robert Tallant
 The Exploits of Xenophon by Geoffrey Household
 The Explorations of Pere Marquette by Jim Kjelgaard
 Exploring the Himalaya by William O. Douglas
 The F.B.I. by Quentin Reynolds
 The Fall of Constantinople by Bernadine Kielty
 Famous Pirates of the New World by A. B. C. Whipple
 Ferdinand Magellan: Master Mariner by Seymour Gates Pond
 The First Men in the World by Anne Terry White
 The First Overland Mail by Robert Pinkerton
 The First Transatlantic Cable by Adele Gutman Nathan
 Flat Tops by Edmund Castillo
 The Flight and Adventures of Charles II by Charles Norman
 Florence Nightingale by Ruth Fox Hume
 The Flying Aces of World War I by Gene Gurney
 The Flying Tigers by John Toland
 The French Foreign Legion by Wyatt Blassingame
 From Casablanca to Berlin by Bruce Bliven, Jr.
 From Pearl Harbor To Okinawa by Bruce Bliven Jr.
 Garibaldi: Father of Modern Italy by Marcia Davenport
 General Brock and Niagara Falls by Samuel Hopkins Adams
 Genghis Kahn & the Mongol Horde by Harold Lamb
 George Washington Carver by Anne Terry White
 George Washington: Frontier Colonel by Sterling North
 Geronimo: Wolf of the Warpath by Ralph Moody
 Gettysburg by MacKinlay Kantor
 The Golden Age of Railroads by Stewart H. Holbrook
 Great American Fighter Pilots of World War II by Robert D. Loomis
 Great Men of Medicine by Ruth Fox Hume
 Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis
 Hawaii, Gem of the Pacific by Oscar Lewis
 Hero of Trafalgar by A. B. C. Whipple
 Heroines of the Early West by Nancy Wilson Ross
 Hudson's Bay Company by Richard Morenus
 Jesus of Nazareth by Harry Emerson Fosdick
 Joan of Arc by Nancy Wilson Ross³
 John F. Kennedy & PT 109 by Richard Tregaskis
 John James Audubon by Margaret & John Kieran
 John Paul Jones, Fighting Sailor by Armstrong Sperry
 Julius Caesar by John Gunther
 King Arthur & His Knights by Mabel Louise Robinson
 Kit Carson & the Wild Frontier by Ralph Moody
 The Landing of the Pilgrims by James Daugherty
 Lawrence of Arabia by Alistair MacLean
 Lee and Grant at Appomattox by MacKinlay Kantor
 Leonardo da Vinci by Emily Hahn
 The Lewis and Clark Expedition by Richard L. Neuberger
 The Life of Saint Patrick by Quentin Reynolds
 The Life of Saint Paul by Harry Emerson Fosdick
 Lincoln & Douglas: The Years of Decision by Regina Z. Kelly
 The Louisiana Purchase by Robert Tallant
 The Magna Charta by James Daugherty
 The Man Who Changed China: The Story of Sun Yat-sen by Pearl S. Buck
 Marie Antoinette by Bernadine Kielty
 Marquis de Lafayette: Bright Sword of Freedom by Hodding Carter
 Martin Luther by Harry Emerson Fosdick
 Mary, Queen of Scots by Emily Hahn
 Medal of Honor Heroes by Colonel Red Reeder
 Medical Corps Heros of World War II by Wyatt Blassingame
 Midway, Battle for the Pacific by Edmund L. Castillo
 The Mississippi Bubble by Thomas B. Costain
 The Moniter and the Merrimac by Fletcher Pratt
 Mr. Bell Invents the Telephone by Katherine B. Shippen
 The Mysterious Voyage of Captain Kidd by ABC Whipple 
 Napoleon & the Battle of Waterloo by Frances Winwar
 Old Ironsides, the Fighting Constitution by Harry Hansen
 Our Independence and the Constitution by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
 The Panama Canal by Bob Considine
 Paul Revere & the Minute Men by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
 Peter Stuyvesant of Old New York by Anna & Russell Crouse
 The Pharoahs of Ancient Egypt by Elizabeth Payne
 The Pirate Lafitte & the Battle of New Orleans by Robert Tallant
 Pocahontas & Captain John Smith by Marie Lawson
 The Pony Express by Samuel Hopkins Adams
 Prehistoric America by Anne Terry White
 Queen Elizabeth & the Spanish Armada by Frances Winwar
 Queen Victoria by Noel Streatfeild
 Remember the Alamo! by Robert Penn Warren
 The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler by William L. Shirer
 Robert E. Lee & the Road of Honor by Hodding Carter
 Robert Fulton & the Steamboat by Ralph Nading Hill
 Rogers' Rangers & the French & Indian War by Bradford Smith
 The Royal Canadian Mounted Police by Richard L. Neuberger
 Sam Houston, the Tallest Texan by William Johnson
 The Santa Fe Trail by Samuel Hopkins Adams
 The Seabees of World War II by Edmund Castillo
 Sequoyah: Leader of the Cherokees by Alice Marriott
 Simon Bolivar, the Great Liberator by Arnold Whitridge
 The Sinking of the Bismarck by William L. Shirer
 The Slave Who Freed Haiti: The Story of Toussaint Louverture by Katherine Scherman
 Stonewall Jackson by Jonathan Daniels
 The Story of Albert Schweitzer by Anita Daniel
 The Story of Atomic Energy by Laura Fermi
 The Story of Australia by A. Grove Day
 The Story of D-Day: June 6, 1944 by Bruce Bliven Jr.
 The Story of Oklahoma by Lon Tinkle
 The Story of San Francisco by Charlotte Jackson
 The Story of Scotland Yard by Laurence Thompson
 The Story of Submarines by George Weller
 The Story of the Air Force by Robert Loomis
 The Story of the Naval Academy by Felix Riesenberg Jr.
 The Story of the Paratroops by George Weller
 The Story of the Secret Service by Ferdinand Kuhn
 The Story of the Thirteen Colonies by Clifford Lindsey Alderman
 The Story of the U.S. Coast Guard by Eugene Rachlis
 The Story of the U.S. Marines by George Hunt
 The Story of Thomas Alva Edison by Margaret Cousins
 The Swamp Fox of the Revolution by Stewart H. Holbrook
 Teddy Roosevelt & the Rough Riders by Henry Castor
 The Texas Rangers by Will Henry
 Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Ted Lawson & Bob Considine
 Thomas Jefferson, Father of Democracy by Vincent Sheean
 Tippecanoe & Tyler, Too! by Stanley Young
 To California by Covered Wagon by George R. Stewart
 Trappers & Traders of the Far West by James Daugherty
 The United Nations in War and Peace by T. R. Fehrenback
 The U.S. Border Patrol by Clement Hellyer
 The U.S. Frogmen of World War II by Wyatt Blassingame
 Up the Trail From Texas by J. Frank Dobie
 The Vikings by Elizabeth Janeway
 The Voyages of Christopher Columbus by Armstrong Sperry
 The Voyages of Henry Hudson by Eugene Rachlis
 Walk in Space: the Story of Project Gemini by Gene Gurney
 Walter Raleigh by Henrietta Buckmaster
 The War Chief of the Seminoles by May McNeer
 The War in Korea: 1950 - 1953 by Robert Leckie
 The West Point Story by Col. Red Reeder & Nardi Reeder Campion
 Wild Bill Hickok Tames the West by Stewart H. Holbrook
 Will Shakespeare and the Globe Theater by Anne Terry White
 William Penn: Quaker Hero by Hildegarde Dolson
 William the Conqueror by Thomas B. Costain
 Winston Churchill by Quentin Reynolds
 The Winter at Valley Forge by Van Wyck Mason
 The Witchcraft of Salem Village by Shirley Jackson
 Women of Courage by Dorothy Nathan
 The World's Greatest Showman: P.T. Barnum by J. Bryan III
 The Wright Brothers by Quentin Reynolds
 Wyatt Earp: U.S. Marshall by Stewart H. Holbrook
 Young Mark Twain & the Mississippi by Harnett T. Kane

The outstanding children’s books of this half century….  without parallel in the field of children’s literature.

–Rev. Dr. Leo J. McCormick, Supt. of Schools, Archdiocese of Baltimore

Any pre-adolescent who has not feasted on them has been cheated.

–Dr. Henry F. Graff, Associate Professor of History, Columbia University


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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] darling and dear children, this wasn’t a word they used. Lucky for me, that summer I discovered The Landmark Books, and before long, I was sneaking novels off my parents’ shelves. Not always understanding them, […]

    • Thanks for your comment Jeff. This was (and still is) a highly readable nonfiction series for young people that remains sought-after today! I think it started many on their path to reading enjoyment.


  2. I remember these books well. My great-grandmother sent them through the monthly book club. The biohgaphy of Cleopatra was one of the first non-picture books I completed, and as a reward my father took me and a friend to the movie starring Elizabeth taylor and Richard Burton. We were about 10 and were dazzled by her revealing costumes. I devoured books on dinosaurs and one on The Copper Kings of Montana.

  3. Loved ’em as a kid…. I even wanted to change my name to Quentin (Reynolds)
    I still pick one up now and then at flea markets and second hand book stores.

  4. I read these books as a child & my mother saved my volumes that I had, fewer than a dozen. I’ve now been collecting them for over 20 years , along with the “Signature Books” series published by Grosset & Dunlap & the “We Were There” series & have only a dozen or so missing from all three. These are very high quality histories that should be fresh voices of history for the recent generations behind the Boomers.

    I have a lot of “duplicate” volumes & welcome inquiries from others interested in these fine books.

    Chip Vogan
    Norfolk, VA
    757 623-6432

    • Thanks for your input, Chip! Landmark books are written for young adults by some of the best adult writers of their time — like Samuel Hopkins Adams, William O. Douglas, Quentin Reynolds and Jim Kjelgaard. The “We Were There” series is interesting as well. I don’t come across them very often!

      Old Scrolls Book Shop

  5. Looking for children’s books written by children. I am thinking of one about a boy who grows potatoes. I think this book was available through Landmark and it was the late 80’s or into the 90’s. I remember great pictures and the new author joined a group of authors under 10 or 12. It was a special series perhaps. Any ideas on how to search for these children written books?
    Thank you,

  6. Oh I adored the Landmark books – as well as the Signature Books and slightly less so, the We Were There series and the Childhoods of Famous Americans series. The writing was first rate, the length was perfect for a child from 8 to 14 years old, the illustrations were apt and well made. There were FACTS in these books – and the central points of the dramas of these lives (most were biographical) or inventions were so well described. Honestly my childhood would have been quite different without them – and I’ve such a depth of love when I think of that time before I could read, when my mother would sit beside me reading them to me – King Arthur and His Knights in particular. I cherish them. They were given at every Christmas and birthday – and my pride and joy of ownership as I was growing up. Thanks! Thomas Dean

    • Thanks for your comment on Landmark Books, Thomas. They make amazing gifts for children that they will long remember (as you have demonstrated). Happy New Year!

  7. I loved Landmark books as a kid. Used to read them while commuting to school on public transportation. I am at a point now where I need to “de-asses” this collection. I have 56 Landmark and Landmark World History books. Any suggestions on finding a Collector who would be interested in the whole lot?

    • Hello Andrew,
      You could try listing them for sale online (perhaps at E-Bay or Amazon) if you want to get close to market value for them. Or you could contact a used/out-of-print bookseller near you to see if they are interested in purchasing outright (usually at about 30% of market value). If you have a grandchild, a neice or a nephew to pass them along to, that might be even better.
      Kind regards,
      Old Scrolls Book Shop

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