Fireside Library

Herbert Jenkins (London, UK)
Series dates: 1924-1930
Size: 7″ x 4.5″

“The Fireside Library: A new series of handy volumes for the student and general reader, re-introducing famous writers of the past with prefatory essays by well-known contemporary men of letters” (1924, source).

“The Fireside Library is intended to administer to varying moods and to stand the supreme test of all book friends — the easy chair and the blazing fire” (1924, source).

Herbert Jenkins’ Fireside Library shared its name with at least a half-dozen earlier series, many paperbound and issued in the 2nd half of the 19th century. Jenkins’  series was issued first in 1924 and advertised as late as 1930. The series general editor was Arthur Compton-Rickett. With one exception (Blackwood’s short stories), the 8 titles in the series were anthologies and edited collections. An advertisement included in the back of a 1925 Herbert Jenkins book lays out the goals of the series and details the first five titles:

Advertisement in the back of Popular superstitions by Charles Platt, 1925, London: H. Jenkins, Ltd.

Eight series titles were published between 1924 and 1928:

Songs from the Elizabethans, J.C. Squire, ed. (1924)
Robert Browning: Humanist, Arthur Compton Rickett, ed. (1924)
The Old-World Pleasaunce, Eleanour Sinclair Rohde, ed. (1925)
A Minute a Day, A. Bonnet Laird ed. (1926)
Essayists Past and Present, J.B. Priestley, ed. (1925)
Samuel Johnson: A Writer, S.C. Roberts, ed. (1926)
The Dance of Death and Other Stories, by Algernon Blackwood (1927)
Apes and Parrots: An Anthology of Parodies, John Collings Squire, ed. (1928)

Jackets for the series are relatively plain and common to the series. Jackets were printed on colored paper, including cream and red. The copy of Priestley’s Essayists Past and Present was first published in 1925. The title, editor, price (5/- net) and publisher are included on the jacket spine. The front of the jacket includes the title and author and series colophon. The front jacket flap is blank. This copy seems to have been a review copy, with the notice glued (and partially removed) from the front of the jacket).

The back of the jacket and rear jacket spine (partially torn on this copy) are blank.

A solid red cloth binding (other colors were used) includes gold stamping on the spine and a debossed cover with a leafy design, book title, editor and series colophon.

The endpapers of the book include the series name and an illustration of fireside reading (from another era). The illustrator is John Pimlott and dated 1924.

The half-title page includes the series name and its general editor.

The series colophon faces the title page, which includes the date with the publisher’s print.

A series catalog includes two titles, suggesting this title was the third in the series.

The contents continued and the first page of the introduction:

Printed in Great Britain by Wyman & Sons Ltd., London, Reading, and Fakenham.