Dollar Library

D. Appleton & Company (New York, US)
Series dates: 1927-1935, 1939-1940
Size: 4.5″ x 6.75″ (1927-1935); 5.25″ x 7.5″ (1939-1940)

Variations on the Dollar Library name for reprint book series have been used since at least the 1860s:

The Five Dollar Library: Southern Methodist Publishing House (ca. 1860s).

The Dollar Library of American Fiction: Heinemann (ca. 1901-1902). About 15 titles of American authors published for a British audience. Does not seem to have survived beyond 1902. An advertisement from The Publishers’ Circular (February 23, 1901) introduces the series:


Advertisement of additional titles in the series from Truth: A Weekly Journal, September 26, 1901:


H. & S. Dollar library: Hodder and Stoughton, Doran (ca. 1903-1911): religious titles.

Abingdon Dollar Library: The Methodist Book Concern (ca. 1920-1930): religious titles.

Appleton & Company’s Dollar Library was the most successful of these “dollar” series. It is a diverse series of about 60 titles issued in the late 1920s and then updated and redesigned around 1930 and again in the late 1930s.

The series was sold under the name Appleton Modern Library in the U.K. The jackets differed, but the books themselves were the same (and the series name printed in the books was the Dollar Library).

A 1928 copy of Maurois’ Ariel is an example of the early jacket and binding style for this series. Common to the series, the jacket has an abstract plant design, indicates the series and advertises other titles in the series on the front of the jacket.


The listing of titles continues on the back of the jacket.


Green cloth binding with (fading) gold stamping. The plant design carries over from the dust jacket.


Half title page.


Another list of titles in the series faces the title page. The date of printing (1928) is at the bottom of the title page.


Copyright for the title is 1924.


Jackets and bindings are redesigned around 1930. The jacket design for this 1931 copy of Maurois’ Ariel is common to the series, a wreath surrounding the title and author, and a rather startling black band with a reversed out series name at the bottom of the jacket extending to the spine. Several of the dozen or so categories of books in the series are listed on the front jacket flap, including Art, Biography, Drama, Education, and Poetry.


The titles continue on the back of the jacket: Literature, Psychology, Science, Travel, Etiquette (!), Fiction, Inspiration, and History.


Heavy cloth bindings with gold stamping:


The half title page includes the series name.


Another list of titles faces the title page. The printing date of the book, 1931, is indicated on the title page.


The copyright page includes the copyright date of the book (in this case, 1924).


A catalog of titles with a brief description is included in the back of this copy from the Dollar Library.




A second jacket from the same era, Lewis’ Wolfville Folks. This is a 1929 printing.


The series is redesigned and reissued in 1939 with a dozen new titles. The price is still $1. The books are larger in format than titles in the earlier series.


A list of titles in the redesigned, larger series is listed on the back of the jacket.


Bindings are cloth, with black stamping.


As with the older series, the printing date is included on the title page. There is no half-title page.


Copyright and printing information is indicated.