Chapman and Hall’s 2/- Net Library

Chapman & Hall (London, UK)
Series dates: 1910-1925
Size: 4.25″ x 6.75″

Charles Dickens’ publisher, Chapman & Hall was founded in 1934 by Edward Chapman and William Hall. “In 1868 author Anthony Trollope bought a third of the company for his son, Henry Merivale Trollope. From 1902 to 1930 the company’s managing director was Arthur Waugh. In the 1930s the company merged with Methuen, a merger which, in 1955, participated in forming the Associated Book Publishers.” (source)


Like many other publishers, Chapman and Hall issued various series of contemporary literature in priced series. Their 2/- Net Library is like many other early 20th century series: relatively cheap bindings with colorful jackets of typically nondescript literature. The only indication that the book is part of a series is on the jacket (the book makes no mention of the series).

Ridgwell Cullum’s The Brooding Wild is undated but an announcement of its publication is in a 1913 edition of The BooksellerJacket’s are unique to each title, with an illustration suggested by the book included on the cover. The book is otherwise not illustrated. Titles in the series are listed on the front jacket flap, along with the series name. There are 65 series titles listed on the jacket. The price of 2s/net is unobtrusively included on the jacket spine.


Series titles continue on the rear jacket flap. A few notable authors are included: H.G. Wells, Alfred Russel Wallace, and Peter Kropotkin. Wright’s Coal Tar Sop is advertised on the rear of the jacket.


The bindings and paper are very cheap, on par with the similarly sub-par bindings and paper of the Readers Library series. These were very cheap books meant to be read and forgotten quickly. The red cloth binding has black decoration and typography. There is no indication of the series name on or in the book itself.


The half-title page, and the coarse, yellowing paper the book is printed upon.


Other titles by the book’s author are listed facing the title page.


“Originally published, April 1905” refers to the original, non-series edition of the title. This is a 1913 series reprint; dates related to the series itself are not included in the book (and presumably, not in other books in the series) making them difficult to date.