Pocket Books

aka/ The Pocket Books

George H. Doran Co. (New York, US)
Series dates: 1913-1915
Size: 4.75″ x 7″

Canadian George Doran established his publishing company in Toronto in 1908 and that same year moved it to New York City. Doran’s initial focus was serving as Hodder & Stoughton’s North American representative (H&S also owned 25% of Doran’s firm), but he soon grew into a major force in publishing, having 3,346 titles in print by 1927. That year Doran merged with Doubleday & Page, forming Doubleday Doran, the largest publisher in the world at that time.

Doran’s Pocket Books series shared names with Robert F. de Graff’s Pocket Books paperback series, first issued in 1939. It is possible that the name of DeGraff’s famous paperback series was influenced by Doran’s much earlier series of the same name. De Graff had been employed by Doubleday beginning in 1922, and by 1925 he was head of reprint series for Doubleday. Under the Doubleday Doran firm, de Graff had a hand in all the publisher’s series, until he left in 1936 to establish his own Pocket Books.

Priced at .50 cents, The Pocket Books were first published in 1910 and added titles until about 1915. Most copies are absent printing dates. One reprint appears as late as 1926. The series consists of 16 “War Titles” and 25 fiction titles.

Jackets are common to the series, with a grid of boxes within which the individual book authors and titles are printed. The series name is included on the jacket front. The series logo on the spine, front, and front flap of the jacket. The front jacket flap contains various publisher endorsements of the series: well worth reading, copyrighted fiction at a cheap price, convenient format, easily built into a home library, and new titles added monthly.

J.M. Kennedy’s How the Nations Waged War is one of the “War Titles” in the series. It was published in the series in 1914.

George Birmingham’s The Major’s Niece was first published in 1911 by Smith and Elder and Hodder & Stoughton / Doran in the U.S. Given the 16 war-related titles in the series (advertised on the rear jacket flap) this particular book was probably reprinted in the Pocket Books series around 1913.

Series titles are a combination of reprints of Doran and Hodder & Stoughton fiction, and 16 “War Titles” related to WW 1. Doran was a significant publisher of propaganda for the U.S. government during WW 1. The connection between government-sponsored propaganda publications and the 16 titles in the Pocket Books series is not clear. The “War Titles” include

Submarines, Mines and Torpedoes in War, by C. W. Domville Fife
Motor Transports in War, by Horace Wyatt
The Red Cross in War, by Mary F. Billington
The Slav Nations, by Srgjan PL. Tucic
A Scrap of Paper, by Dr. E.J. Dillon and J.M. Kennedy
How The War Began, by J.M. Kennedy and W.L. Courtney, LL.D.
How The Nations Waged War, by J.M. Kennedy
The Campaign Round Liege, by J.M. Kennedy and W.L. Courtney
Hacking Through Belgium, by Edmund Dane
The Fighting Retreat To Paris, by Roger Ingpen
The Russian Advance, by Marr Murray
In the Firing Line, by A. St. John Adcock
Aircraft in War, by S. Eric Bruce
The Fleets At War, by Archibald Hurd
Forty Years After, by H.C. Bailey
The Campaign of Sedan, by George Hooper

Besides the 16 war titles, 25 fiction titles are in the series:

A Great Man, Arnold Bennett
The Book of Carlotta, Arnold Bennett
Buried Alive, Arnold Bennett
Helen with the High Hand, Arnold Bennett
Leonora, Arnold Bennett
The Truth About an Author, Arnold Bennett
Lalage’s Lovers, G.A. Birmingham
The Major’s Niece, G.A. Birmingham
Priscilla’s Spies, G.A. Birmingham
The Search Party, G.A. Birmingham
The Simpkins Plot, G.A. Birmingham
Spanish Gold, G.A. Birmingham
Meadowsweet, Baroness Orczy
The Noble Rogue, Baroness Orczy
Courin’ Christina, J.J. Bell
Jim, J.J. Bell
Blinds Down, Horace Annesley Vachell
John Verney, Horace Annesley Vachell
A Bachelor’s Comedy, J.E. Buckrose
Because of Jane, J.E. Buckrose
The Day Book of Claudius Clear, W. Robertson Nicoll
Letters of Life, W. Robertson Nicoll
The Girl From Nowhere, Baillie Reynolds
The Notorious Miss Lisle, Baillie Reynolds
Dr. Thorne’s Idea, John Ames Mitchell

The maroon cloth binding is debossed with the series name on the front.

Series endpapers are in the front and rear of the book.

The half-title page:

A catalog of G.A. Birmingham’s books in a uniform edition, $1.50 each, face the title page. The title page indicates the series name and is designed in a manner similar to the jacket front.

The copyright page is blank.