King’s Treasuries of Literature

J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd (London, UK)
Series dates: 1920-1960
Size: 4.25″ x 6″

E.P. Dutton (New York, US)
Series dates: 1920-1960
Size: 4.25″ x 6″

Revised 6/21/2023

An announcement of the first fifty titles in the King’s Treasuries of Literature appears in the June 1920 edition of the Bookseller (p. 392). The series is aimed at “schools, colleges, and private students” and the publisher hopes the new series will be as useful as Dent’s Everyman’s Library is to the general public. The first titles available are listed. The series titles are smaller in format and relatively short, and many titles consist of edited subsets of more substantial texts, selections, and collections rather than full texts. The series editor was Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch.

Series titles apparently extend to #258, according to the most complete list I’ve found, that at Publishing History. #257 in the series (Captain Cook’s Voyages) was added to the series in 1941, suggesting new titles stopped being added to the series around that time. (Journal of Education, July 1941). Reprints extend to 2018, although there was a slow drop-off in reprints after WW2. I ended the series in 1960, as only very scattered reprints appear after that date.

The book below, of Fort Amity by “Q” (A.T. Quiller-Couch), is undated but was published in 1922, according to WorldCat. I can’t find an example of another series title in a dust jacket which is a bit peculiar. It’s possible copies sold to schools, for example, were shipped without jackets (this is just speculation). Given that the titles were published in the 1920s, it’s possible this jacket design was used for all series titles in that era.

The book title and publisher are on the spine with a leafy decoration. The series title is at the top of the jacket front, along with the title and author framed by a decorative border. The editor is noted at the bottom. The front jacket flap is blank.

The back of the jacket advertises Modern English Essays, “An Anthology in Five Volumes” which was also published in 1922. “Printed in Great Britain by Rowell and Sons, London.”

Series covers seem to be consistent over time, with a gold decoration (similar to the jacket) with the title and, unlike the dust jacket, the author. No publisher is indicated on the spine. The book cover includes a debossed side-view of a head, which undoubtedly represents a noble figure of learning – I have no idea who.

The endpapers. This particular copy has “MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN” stamped on the endpapers. The owner is from Elora High School, in Elora, Ontario. The book was purchased from a seller in Canada.

The half-title page:

The ornate title page with an illustration of General Wolfe facing the title. Both Dutton (NY) and Dent (London & Toronto) are noted as publishers.

The copyright page: “Sole agent for Scotland, The Grant Educational Co., Ltd. Glasgow, Scotland.” This is a bit of a mystery, given the book seems to have been sold in Canada.

The last page in the book: “Printed at the Temple Press at Letchworth in Great Britain.”