Beacon Library

Jarrolds (London, UK)
Series dates: 1937-1951
Size: 5.75″ x 8.5″

Jarrolds Beacon Library consisted of 13 titles, mostly from the firm’s backlist, all non-fiction, and all initially published from 1937 to 1939 with a few reprints after WW2. The book below is Ethel Mannin’s South to Samarkand, initially published by Jarrolds in 1936, first issued in the Beacon Library in 1938, and reprinted, in this case, in 1951. Jackets are unique to each title. The jacket spine includes one variation of the torch colophon used for the series. The series name is at the bottom of the jacket spine. The front cover also includes the series name, along with an image, author, title and a phrase from a review praising the book. The front jacket flap repeats the series name and summarizes the book.

The rear of the jacket describes the revived, post-WW2 series. “Forthcoming in the Beacon Library” is My Master Spy by Marthe McKenna. This title was originally issued in 1937 as #7 in the series. The rear jacket flap continues the description of the book from the front flap.

A Jarrolds catalog in the back of Ecuador The Unknown by Victor Wolfgang Von Hagen (Jarrolds, 1939) contains a complete list of titles in the Beacon Library through the final (#13) title, Permanent Way Through the Khyber, issued in 1939.  Each title has a quote from a review of the book. The titles in the series are numbered. The numbering system is not evident on the title above, suggesting it was abandoned for the post-WW2 version of the series. It seems that only two titles were issued after WW2 (My Master Spy and South to Samarkand) before the series disappears.

The titles in the Beacon Library:

#1: All Experience, by Ethel Mannin
#2: In Morocco with the Legion, by G. Ward Price
#3: Voodoo Fire in Haiti, by Richard A Loederer & Desmond Ivo Vesey
#4: African Intrigue, by Alfred Batson
#5: Man Into Woman: An Authentic Record of a Change of Sex, by Lili Elbe & Ernst Harthern
#6: Confessions of a Modern Seer, by Cheiro
#7: My Master Spy: A Narrative of the Secret Service, by Marthe McKenna (reprint, 1945, 1950)
#8: Spies I Knew, by Marthe McKenna

#9: Memoirs of a Spy, by Nicholas Snowden
#10: South to Samarkand, by Ethel Mannin (reprint, 1951)
#11: A Spy Was Born, by Marthe McKenna
#12: Marriage, by Léon Blum

#13: Permanent Way Through the Khyber, by Victor Bayley


The revival of the Beacon Library is announced in an advertisement in 1930. The revival was short-lived, with only two titles reprinted and no new titles issued.

From The Times Literary Supplement (London, England), Friday,
June 30, 1950; pg. 401





The binding of the 1951 title is in tan cloth with red typography. The Beacon Library colophon and name are on the book spine.

A map describing locations in the story is used as the front endpapers. The rear endpapers are blank.

The half-title page:

A list of Mannin’s publications faces the title page. The title page includes “15th Thousands” (numbers of the book printed since its first issue), the series name and imprint of Jarrolds.

The copyright page includes the original year of printing along with the two printings in the Beacon Library. “Printed in Great Britain by The Mayflower Press (late of Plymouth) at Bushey Mill Lane, Watford, Herts.”