Silver Library

aka/ The Silver Library of Standard and Popular Books

Longmans, Green & Co. (London, UK; New York, US, Toronto, CA)
Series dates: 1888-1929
Size: 5″ x 7.75″

Updated 6/16/2024

Longman’s Silver Library encompassed a wide range of fiction and nonfiction likely drawn from the firm’s back catalog. According to an article about the publisher, the first title in the series was issued in 1888 (The Bookseller and the Stationery Trades’ Journal, November 1924, p. 123). The series included individual titles as well as multi-volume sets. The series peaks in the early part of the 20th century. Advertisements fall off in the teens, although titles are issued as late as 1929.

The Athenaeum (UK) July 19, 1890 (left) included an advertisement announcing the Silver Library of Standard and Popular Books.

Longman’s Magazine (1905) (two-page advertisement below) represents the growth of the series.

The Publisher’s Circular (UK) from April 20, 1907 lists a subset of titles. The series has 181 titles.
A copy of A Classified Catalogue of Works Published by Longmans, Green & Company (1913) includes what is likely a complete list of series titles spread over 3 pages. The entire catalog (PDF) is here.

This copy of R.A. Proctor’s Pleasant Ways in Science was published in 1905 and has a jacket that advertises the series and its titles, limiting the information on the title itself to the jacket spine. While the base of the jacket spine is gone, it likely indicates The Silver Library below the series’ graphic colophon. The jacket front contains the series name, a laudatory review of the series, and a partial list of series titles. The cost is 3s 6d and there are, as of the printing of the jacket, 169 titles in the series. The front jacket flap advertises The Works of Lord Macaulay, in the “Albany” Edition, which are part of the Silver Library.

The back of the jacket continues the listing of Silver Library titles. The rear jacket flap lists a dozen catalogs of Longman’s books, all available upon request.

Red cloth binding with gold typography and the Silver Library colophon at the base of the spine. This mimics the information unique to the title on the jacket.

The illustrated endpapers. A sticker indicates this book was a gift, to one Arthur Herou for completing the evening educational class session for 1905-06 sponsored by the Newcastle-upon-Tyne & Gateshead Gas Company.

The half-title page:

A list of other works by the author faces the title page. The year of publication (1905) is included.

“Printed by Ballentine, Hanson & Co. Edinburgh and London”