Paternoster Library

Hurst & Blackett Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1936-1940
Size: 5.5″ x 8.75″

After being sold in the 1920s to Hutchinson, Hurst & Blackett continued to publish popular fiction (historically its strength), in addition to biographies of celebrities, royalty, and historical figures and war-related titles. By and large, the imprint’s post-1920s authors and titles were not of the highest quality, instead serving, more or less, as a lower-end publishing imprint of Hutchinson.

Hutchinson used its Hurst and Blackett imprint to publish, in 1933, a shortened translation of Hitler’s Mein Kampf called My Struggle (added to the Paternoster Library in 1936). The full translation, as Mein Kampf, was published by Hurst & Blackett in 1939. The Hurst & Blackett imprint has been used for reprints and what seem to be new titles through the 1980s. In 1989 Hutchinson itself was absorbed into Random House. (source: “Hurst and Blackett.” British Literary Publishing Houses, 1820-1880. Ed. Patricia Anderson and Jonathan Rose. Vol. 106. Detroit: Gale, 1991. 155-159)

The Paternoster Library name was used for a series of non-fiction political titles issued by Kegan Paul, Trench & Trubner from 1896-1911. The series name was revived by the Hutchinson imprint Hurst & Blackett in 1935, with the first titles appearing in 1936. The name was taken from the long-time location of Hurst & Blackett in Paternoster House in London. The series announcement below is part of an Autumn 1935 catalog in the back of Phyllis Margrave’s novel Fickle Wheel (published by Hurst & Blackett).

This copy of Elswyth Thane’s The Tudor Wench is undated but was published as #3 in the series in 1936. Dust jackets for the series are unique to each title, but most follow the same rather bold design with wavy lines in a colored background, bold type, and a complex jacket spine design. The jacket spine includes the price (3/6), book title, a quick quote from a review, the number of copies printed (Eighth Thousand), author, the price again, and the series name. The jacket front contains the same information, minus the price and including the publisher. The front jacket flap includes a blurb about the book.

The rear of the jacket continues the pattern and the white area is filled with a prospectus for the series. The rear of the jacket lists the first six titles in the series, with excerpts from reviews. The series numbers are not noted in this list, nor anywhere on the dust jacket.

Sixteen titles were issued in the series. The titles are, however, numbered to 17. #15 was apparently never published. Two other titles were announced (#14 and #16) then replaced with different titles. In total, there were three ghost titles in the series:

I. A Daughter of the Samurai, by Etsu lnagaki Sugimoto (1936)
II. My Struggle (Mein Kampf), by Adolf Hitler (1936)
III. The Tudor Wench, by Elswyth Thane (1936)
IV. My Autobiography, by Benito Mussolini (1936)
V. A Million Miles in Sail, by John Herries McCulloch (1936)
VI. The Menace Of Japan, by Taid O’Conroy (1936)
VII. The Black Tents of Arabia, by Carl R. Raswan (1936)
VIII. Schiggi-Schiggi: The Adventures of Leo Parcus in the Forests of Bolivia, by Fritz Strauss (1936)
IX. The Land of the Lingam, by Arthur Miles (Gervee Baronte) (1937)
X. A Daughter of the Narikin, by Etsu lnagaki Sugimoto (1937)
XI. Japan Must Fight Britain, by Lt.-Comdr. Tota lshimaru (1936)
XII. The Rose of London, by Guy Paget (1937)
XIII. K.I4-0.M.66, by Colonel Victor K. Kaledin (1937)
*XIV. Germany’s Hitler, by Heinz A. Heinz
XIV. My Part in Germany’s Fight, by Joseph Goebbels (1938)
**XV. Khyber Caravan, by Gordon Sinclair
*XVI. Traitors Within, by Herbert T. Fitch
XVI. Memoirs of H.R.H. Prince Christopher of Greece, by Christopher, Prince of Greece (1939)
XVII. A Caged Bird, by Maureen Fleming (1939)

* Ghost title: announced, but not published and series number used by a different title
** Ghost title: announced, but not published

The bindings are dark green with silver typography. The spine includes the title and author and series name. The same is included on the front of the book.

The first page of printing consists of the series blurb, rather than the half-title.

The half-title includes a quote about the subject of the book.

Novels by the same author, five are listed.

An illustration faces the title page. The title page includes the number of copies printed (8th thousand) and, oddly, the series number (III) above the imprint. This is the only place in the book or on the jacket that includes the book series number.

Made and printed in Great Britain for Hurst & Blackett, Ltd., Paternoster House, London, E.C. 4, at The Mayflower Press, Plymouth. William Brendon & Son, Ltd.

A catalog of the first seven titles in the series is bound in the back of the book. The catalog includes quotes from reviews and commentary on each book.