Rescue Series

Elkin Mathews & Marrot, Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1927-1929
Size: 5.5″ x 7.75

Frederick A. Stokes Co. (New York)
Series dates: 1928-1929
Size: 5.5″ x 7.75

rescue_logoAntiquarian book dealer Elkin Mathews and John Lane formed The Bodley Head in 1887 as a firm to sell antiquarian books. Primarily at the urging of Lane, works of “stylish decadence” were published by the firm starting in 1894. Mathews left soon afterward and continued to publish as Elkin Mathews Ltd. He died in 1921. The firm became Elkin Mathews & Marrot, Ltd. in 1926, separating the antiquarian book dealer from the publisher. Elkin Mathews & Marrot, Ltd. was acquired by publisher Ivor Nicholson & Watson, Ltd. in 1933 and by Allen Unwin in 1945.

The New York City publisher Frederick A. Stokes Company was established in 1890 and acquired by Lippencot in 1941. “Stokes published established writers such as Francis Hodgson Burnett, Frank Buck, and Stephen Crane. He also published beginning writers such as James Branch Cabell, Maria Montessori, and Percival Wren.” The firm was also known for art books, children’s books, and reprint series.

The Rescue Series was an effort of Elkin Mathews & Marrot, the first volume issued in 1927. Stokes co-published the series with only minor modifications in the U.S. beginning in 1928, minus one title (which also seemed to be excised from the UK series, see below). The series “rescued” out of print novels from obscurity.

Advertisements for the new series appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, March 17 (left) and May 12 (right) 1927.

The books are above average in quality. Jackets were unique to each title. The price (7/6 and $2 on examples below) was indicated on the jacket spine. A prospectus for the series is printed on the front jacket flap. This Mathews & Marrot (UK) copy of Emily Eden’s The Semi-Detached House, #4 in the series, indicates “second printing” on the jacket spine, in October of 1928 (first printing, April 1928).


Marmion Savage was a 19th-century Irish author and journalist. The Bachelor of the Albany (#1 in the Rescue Series) was his second and best-known novel, originally published in 1847. This copy is a Stokes (U.S.) copy, published in 1928, one year after the UK edition. The jackets differ mostly in the book price on the spine and the inclusion of the series colophon (included on the UK but not US front jacket flap).

The rear of the UK jacket details the first five titles in the series with reviews of each from contemporary literature. The rear jacket flap includes fiction from Mathews & Marrot’s fall (1928) catalog.


The Stokes jacket black is blank except for the series colophon. The initial two titles in the series are listed on the rear jacket flap.

There are seven titles in the Rescue Series, although one (Austin) is seemingly not numbered and was not published in the U.S. by Stokes. The list below includes the first year of publication in the UK (MM) and US (S) as well as a few UK reprints (as late as 1933 for UK editions).

I have no idea why the Austin title (published between #5 and #6 in the series in the UK) was excluded in the numbering scheme and not published in the US. It’s possible that reviews of the “finished” version of this Austen fragment were poor, and it was thus excluded from the series and replaced (at least in series number) by the Noel title, published a year later. It’s possible that the Austen title did originally have a series number (#6) but one would need a UK jacket to confirm this.

#1. The Bachelor of the Albany, by M.W. Savage. Introduction by Bonamy Dobrée. (MM: 1927; S: 1928)
#2. The Heroine, by Eaton Stannard Barrett. Introduction by Michael Sadleir (MM: 1927; S: 1928)
#3. The Semi-Attached Couple, by Emily Eden. Introduction by John Gore (MM: 1927, 1928, 1933; S: 1928)
#4. The Semi-Detached House, by Emily Eden. Introduction by Anthony Eden (MM: 1928, 1933; S: 1928)
#5. Guy Livingstone, by George A Lawrence. Introduction by Sheila Kaye-Smith (MM: 1928; S: 1928)

#?. The Watsons, by Jane Austen, Completed in accordance with her intentions by Edith Hubback Brown (her great grand-niece) and Frances Brown (MM: 1928)

#6. From Generation to Generation, by Lady Augusta Noel. Introduction by John Gore (MM: 1929; S: 1929)

The UK books had contrasting cloth binding in blue and tan with gold stamping. The paper in the book has a deckle edge (rough edge).


The US bindings are lower in quality, consisting of a plasticized material with gold stamping.

The UK half-title page with series name.


The US half-title page with series name:

The first five titles in the series face the title page of the UK edition. The date of printing (1928) is below the publisher name on the title page.


The US edition lists the one other title available in the series (at the time of publication) facing a title page that includes the Stokes imprint:

Printing information is included on the UK edition copyright page. “Printed in Great Britain by Purnell and Sons, Paulton (Somerset) and London.”


The US edition includes the statement “Printed in Great Britain” on the copyright page. The book, at least, was printed in the UK.

The US edition indicates, on the last page, “Printed in Great Britain by Richard Clay & Sons, Limited., Bungay, Suffolk.”