At Old Scrolls Book Shop, one of our specialties is books with beautiful old illustrated dust jackets, published in the first half of the twentieth century. The art on some of these jackets is enchanting. Each decade seems to have produced its particular charms, reflecting the culture of the era.
As any book collector will tell you, the dust jacket has always been the first part of the book to be damaged or thrown away, and therefore contributes much to the value of the book when it is intact; thus specimens like these are becoming increasingly difficult to find with their lovely jackets in very good or better condition.
Because I have always wished there was a place where one could single out and browse just these types of books, we have finally organized a place on our website where visitors who are looking for beautiful old jacketed copies can do just that. If you visit our store’s home page at www.oldscrolls.com and scroll down a ways (past the Modern Library book case and just below the Decorated American Trade bindings), you will see a bookcase displaying a large sampling of these books…if you click on the bookcase, you will be taken to a sampling of our available copies, each one listed individually with a photo and description. We will be adding more books to this category in the future. It’s almost like browsing in our shop!
CLICK ON IMAGE BELOW to view images and descriptions of some of these books with early jackets individually.
It’s possible to collect even earlier jackets, say from the 19th century (Yes, there were dust jackets on books in the 19th century, and even a few in the 18th! The problem is that few of them have survived.) Although generally not as attractive as the beautifully illustrated jackets from the first half of the 20th century, they offer a real challenge for the collector interested in old jackets. Below is a book from our inventory, published in 1896 with its original jacket.
Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush is a title which is described in the recently published Book-Jackets: Their History, Forms and Use, by G. Thomas Tanselle (The Bibliographical Society of The University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 2011). This is an excellent reference book on pre-1901 dust jackets. Information on this book is available here.