Nelson’s Continental Library

T. Nelson & Sons Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1915-1939
Size: 4.5″ x 6.25″

Revised 5/29/2023

By far, the most imposing series of reprint titles on the European continent in the latter half of the 19th century and the first few decades of the 20th were the Tauchnitz Editions. These paperbound (and sometimes hardcover) titles consisted of British and American books (many of them popular fiction) published soon after the UK/US release and for sale outside the UK and US – mostly the European Continent. World War 1 significantly undermined the ability of Tauchnitz to publish its titles. Into the void stepped Nelson & Sons, who established a Paris office in 1910 and began issuing French-language titles. Issuing English-language titles from the same office, especially with Tauchnitz struggling, made complete sense. Nelson’s Continental Library titles were first published in 1915, paperbound and in jackets. The jackets were the main distinguishing characteristic of the series compared to the Tauchnitz Editions (which issued jackets on hardbound copies, and eventually paperbound copies, beginning in the 1930s).

With their exceedingly popular Nelson’s Classics series and range of literary contacts, Nelson recruited authors for the series – a veritable who’s who of early 20th-century popular and literary authors. The series reached at least 94 and possibly 99 titles by the time it was discontinued before WW2.

Sources: Nelson Continental Library and Paperback Revolution.

This copy of Jack London’s Jerry of the Islands is #53 in the series and is undated, but sources (Google Books) indicate is was first available in 1917. The jackets are unique to each title, in color, and stand out for their often unique and attractive artwork. The jacket spine includes the book title, series name, colophon, price, publication location and publisher, and series number. The jacket cover includes unique artwork, typically integrating the title, author, and series name in the artwork itself. This particular copy has price change stickers affixed to the jacket spine and front. The front jacket flap is blank.

The rear of the jacket lists up to title #65. The series name and price are noted. “…Of the best British and American Literature” evokes the Tauchnitz series “Collection of British and American Authors.” The statement “Each Novel Complete and issued in One Volume” may allude to Tauchnitz’s practice of issuing longer titles in two or three volumes (which in part may have been a strategy for increased profits). “Must not be taken into Great Britain, the Colonies, or U.S.A.” situates the series as aimed at the “rest of the world” buyers of English language novels.

Titles in Nelson’s Continental Library are below. Beyond the list on the jacket of the London title (above). I used WorldCat and the Nelson Continental Library pages to gather the rest. A few remain missing (83, 84, 87) and possibly 95-98 if, indeed, the copy alleged to be #99 (The Strange Case of Mr. Jocelyn Thew) was part of the series (see note below). The years appended to some of the later titles are from WorldCat. The dating of these titles is difficult, as most did not include publication years. Thus WorldCat entries with dates are likely contemporary guesses as to the date by early 20th century librarians.

1. Innocent, by Marie Corelli.
2. The Holy Flower, by Rider Haggard.
3. The Laughing Cavalier, by Baroness Orczy.
4. A Soldier of the Legion, by C.N. and A.M. Williamson
5. Arundel, by E.F. Benson.
6. The Lost Tribes, by G. Birmingham.
7. Forlorn Adventurers, by E. Castle.
8. You Never Know Your Luck, by Gilbert Parker.
9. The Freelands, by J. Galsworthy.
10. A People’s Man, by E.P. Oppenheim.
11. A Knight on Wheels, by Ian Hay.
12. The Amateur Gentleman, by Jeffery Farnol.
13. The Great White Army, by Max Pemberton.
14. General Sketch of the European War (1st Phase), by Hilaire Belloc.
15. The Man of Iron, by R. Dehan.
16. Maria, by Baroness van Hutten.
17. The Valley of Fear, by A. Conan Doyle.
18. Further Experiences of an Irish R.M., by E. Somerville & Martin Ross.
19. Young Man’s Year, by Anthony Hope.
20. Salute to Adventurers, by John Buchan.
21. The Lighted Way, by E.P. Oppenheim.
22. Mutiny of the “Elsinore,” by Jack London.
23. The First Hundred Thousand, by Ian Hay.
24. Old Delabole, by Eden Phillpotts.
25. Greenmantle, by John Buchan.
26. General Sketch of the European War (2nd Phase), by Hilaire Belloc.
27. Pincher Martin, O.D., by “Taffrail.”
28. Guy and Pauline, by C. Mackenzie.
29. The Little Lady of the Big House, by Jack London.
30. Desmond’s Daughter, by Maud Diver.
31. Thirty-nine Steps and The Power-House, by John Buchan.
32. Between the Lines, by Boyd Cable.
33. Night-Watches, by W.W. Jacobs.
34. The Human Boy and the War, by Eden Pbillpotts.
35. The Night Born, by Jack London.
36. Action Front, by Boyd Cable.
37. Sonia Between Two Worlds, by Stephen McKenna.
38. Reef of Stars, by H. de Vere Stacpoole.
39. The Vermilion Box, by E.V. Lucas.
40. Little Comrade, by Burton E. Stevenson.
41. “William, by the Grace of God-,” by Marjorie Bowen.
42. The Dark Forest, by Hugh Walpole.
43. Gallipoli, by John Masefield.
44. The Leopard Woman, by S.E. White.
45. Fortunes of Garin, by Mary Johnston.
46. White Fang, by Jack London.
47. A Far Country, by Winston Churchill.
48. Petunia, by Mary C.E. Wemyss.
49. A Daughter of the Snows, by Jack London.
50. Ninety-six Hours’ Leave, by Stephen McKenna.
51. Unconquered, by Maud Diver.
52. Baldwin’s Kingdom, by B. Baskerville.
53. Jerry of the Islands, by Jack London.
54. Starlit Garden, by H. de Vere Stacpoole.
55. Strength of the Strong, by Jack London.
56. Where Your Treasure Is, by H. Day.
57. The Long Trick, by “Bartimeus.”
58. The Last Days of Fort Vaux, by Henry Bordeaux.
59. Marnaduke, by Mrs. F.A. Steele.
60. The Dwelling-Place of Light, by Winston Churchill.
6I. The Triumph of John Kars, by Ridgwell Cullum.
62. The Sub, by “Taffrail.”
63. Thomas, by H.B. Creswell.
64. Michael, Brother of Jerry, by Jack London.
65. Christine, by Alice Cholmondeley.
66. The Harbor, by Ernest Poole. (1920)
67. The Crime of Constable Kelly, by J.C. Snaith. (1924)
68. The Harbor, by Ernest Poole.
69. How Could You, Jean? by Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd. (1920, 1924)
70. Secret Bread, by F. Tennyson Jesse. (1920)
71. First the Blade: A Comedy of Growth, by Clemence Dane (1920)
72. Impossible People, by George Wemyss
73. The Return of the Soldier, by Rebecca West. (1918)
74. Head Winds, by James Brendan Connolly (1918)
75. Hearts of Three, by Jack London. (1919)
76. Thomas Settles Down, by H.B. Creswell.
77. White Magic, by Stewart Edward White. (1924)
78. The Three Black Pennys, by Joseph Hergesheimer, (1919)
79. Mr. Standfast, by John Buchan
80. The Red One, by Jack London
81. The Laird of Glenfernie, by Mary Johnston. (1919)
82. The Undefeated, by J.C. Snaith. (1920)
83. ?
84. ?
85. Peter Jackson, Cigar Merchant, by Gilbert Frankau, (1919)
86. Letters of Travel (1892-1913), by Rudyard Kipling.
87. ?
88. Penny Plain, by O. Douglas.
89. Hunting Tower, by John Buchan. (1920, 1922)
90. Richard Triumphant, by W. Pett Ridge. (1923, 1925)
91. Greensea Island: A Mystery of the Essex Coast, by Victor Bridges. (1923)
92. Mr. Prohack, by Enoch Arnold Bennett. (1922)
93. The Van Roon, by John Collis Snaith. (1925)
94. Midwinter: Certain Travellers in Old England, by John Buchan
95. ?
96. ?
97. ?
98. ?
*99. The Strange Case of Mr. Jocelyn Thew, by Edward Phillips Oppenheim.

*The very small low-rez thumbnail on the source page for this title suggests this was a Nelson’s Continental Library edition (the series name can be seen at the bottom of the jacket), dated in the source as 1919 and published by Hodder and Stoughton (at a larger size, 19cm, than the typical 17cm size of books in the series). I can find no evidence of a version of this book published by Nelson. A bit of a mystery.

Nelson’s Continental Library paper book covers look similar to the covers of Tauchnitz Editions. The spine includes the series name, title, author, price, publisher, and series number. Much of that information is also included on the front of the book with a few more details. These paper covers are common in design from book to book in the series.

The half-title page includes the series name, number, and title.

The title page:

The copyright page is blank.

The books are “Printed in Great Britain. Imprimerie Nelson, Édimbourg, ´Ecosse,” A publisher colophon is placed on the last page of the book.