Jarrolds’ Jackdaw Library

Jarrold Publishing (London, UK)
Series dates: 1936-1945
Size: 4.25″ x 7″

Jarrolds’ Jackdaw Crime Series (1939-1940)
Jackdaw Services Editions (1939-1945)

Revised 6/4/2023

Jarrold Publishing (formerly known as Jarrolds) shares a history with the Jarrold Department Store chain in Norwich, England.

Jarrold Publishing was part of the Hutchinson Group of publishers in the late 1930s but, as noted on the Paperback Revolution blog, this Group was perhaps more of a collaboration than full integration.

The Toucan Novels appeared in 1937, collectively published by Hutchinson-affiliated publishers Hurst & Blackett, Stanley Paul, John Long, Skeffington & Son, and Rich & Cowan. Jaroolds was not part of that effort. Instead, Jarrolds’ had issued their own bird-themed Penguin chaser, the Jackdaw Library. The design, size, cost, and content matched Penguin Books. Unlike Penguin, the jackdaw mascot of the series changed from book to book.

The Jackdaw Library is advertised (below left) in the back of another Jarrold publication, Leon Blum, From Poet to Premier by Richard L. Stokes (Jarrold, 1937). The series is included (along with Hutchenson’s Pocket Library, John Long Four-Square Thrillers, The Toucan Novels, and Skeffington’s Pocket Library in a 1940 Jackdaw Services Edition of Ethel Mannin, Women Also Dream (below, right)

Slightly edited from Paperback Revolution: “The first eight Jackdaw books appeared together in October 1936 and were followed by another eight in the first three months of 1937, bringing the series up to volume 16. Volumes 17 to 20 were published in June 1937… A further two titles appeared a year later in June 1938, both crime titles, and after another year’s gap the series re-launched as the Jackdaw Crime Series, with the numbering starting again from one. Eight Jackdaw Crime Series titles were published in 1939 and another eight by about the end of 1940. But the books became thinner and lost their dustwrappers as wartime conditions and paper rationing started to bite. The numbered series ended at volume 16, with a few more unnumbered books appearing later, with the price increased to ninepence. The Hutchinson Services Editions later included a small number of Jarrolds’ Jackdaw titles and there were even a few more Jackdaws published after the war.”

I’ve tried to organize the lists of titles below to reflect the publishing history in the previous paragraph. This includes twenty-two titles in the Jackdaw Library (1936-1938), seventeen titles in the subsequent Jackdaw Crime Series (1939-1940), and seven titles in the subsequent Jackdaw Services Editions (1939-1945). In essence, this can be seen as one series (Jackdaw) that evolved into two subsequent variations with a total of 46 titles total. The comment, above, that some Jackdaw titles were published after the war may refer to reprints (such as #18, Ethel Mannin’s Crescendo, reprinted in 1948).

Borrowing from Vintage Paperback Books and Publishing History, a slightly modified list of titles in the Jackdaw regular and mystery series. Publication dates are from Paperback Revolution. Additional information from WorldCat.

Jarrolds’ Jackdaw Library (1936-1938): Twenty-two titles

1. Margery Allingham, Look To The Lady (October 1936)
2. Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Grey Granite (October 1936)
3. Margery Lawrence, Madame Holle (October 1936)
4. George Goodchild, Tiger’s Club (October 1936)
5. Ethel Mannin, Linda Shawn (October 1936)
6. Ethel Mannin, Men Are Unwise (October 1936)
7. Paul Selver, Private Life (October 1936)
8. Susan Glaspell, Fidelity (October 1936)
9. Margery Allingham, Crime At Black Dudley (Spring 1937)
10. Bernard Newman, Armoured Doves: A Peace Book (Spring 1937)
11. James Leslie Mitchell, Spartacus (Spring 1937)
12. Rupert Croft-Cooke, Release the Lions (Spring 1937)
13. Ethel Mannin, Sounding Brass (Spring 1937)
14. Susan Glaspell, Glory Of The Conquered (Spring 1937)
15. Ethel Mannin, Pilgrims (Spring 1937)
16. Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song: A Novel (Spring 1937)
17. Rupert Croft-Cooke, Night Out (June 1937)
18. Ethel Mannin, Crescendo: Being the Dark Odyssey of Gilbert Stroud (June 1937; reprint 1948)
19. James Leslie Mitchell, Cloud Howe (June 1937; author also listed as Lewis Grassic Gibbon)
20. George Goodchild, Return To Eden (June 1937)
21. Margery Allingham, White Cottage Mystery (June 1938)
22. Walter S. Masterman, The Baddington Horror (June 1938)

Jarrolds’ Jackdaw Crime Series (1939-1940): Seventeen titles

1. Walter S. Masterman, The Wrong Verdict (1939)
2. Herman Landon, The Silver Chest (1939)
3. Winifred Duke, The Murder Of Mr. Mallabee (1939)
4. Herman Landon, The Back Seat Murders (1939)
5. George Goodchild, The Jury Disagree (1939)
6. Herman Landon, Haunting Fingers (1939)
7. George Goodchild, The Dear Old Gentlemen (1939)
8. Louis Tracy, By Force Of Circumstances (1939)
9. Alan Kennington, A She Died Young (1940)
10. Walter S. Masterman, The Secret Of The Downs (1940)
11. Ruth Burr Sanborn, Murder On The Aphrodite (1940)
12. Marthe McKenna, Double Spy (1940)
13. Herman Landon, Whispering Shadows (1940)
14. Walter S. Masterman, The Border Line (1940)
15. Moray Dalton, The Black Wings (1940)
16. Moray Dalton, The Stretton Darknesse Mystery (1940)
Van Wyck Mason, The Cairo Garter Murders (no series number, but #17; 1940)

Jackdaw Services Editions
(1939-1945): Seven titles

Flt. Lt. Rivaz, Tail Gunner (1943)
Frank Slaughter, Spencer Brade M.D. (1940)
Catherine Tennant, Last Orders, Please! (1945)
Marthe McKenna, Spying Blind (1939)
John Macadam, The Reluctant Erk (1944)
Ethel Mannin, Women Also Dream (1940)
J.H. Wallis, Once Off Guard (1940)

Jackets for the Jackdaw Library reflect the Penguin Books aesthetic; geometric design, bold colors, and a series mascot. In this case, a jackdaw. Bernard Newman’s Armoured Doves is #10 in the series and was published in the spring of 1937.

The jacket spine includes the series name, series number, author, title, and price (6d.). The jacket front contains the same, with the addition of the jackdaw and a brief quote from a review of the title. The front jacket flap continues the quotes from reviews.

The back of the jacket lists up to #16 in the series.

The paper cover of the book largely reflects the jacket, without the price.

The half-title page:

The title page, which includes the printing numbers (42nd thousand):

“First published in 1932, Jackdaw Library 1937.”

“Printed in Great Britain, at the Anchor Press, Tiptree, Essex.”