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