Sunday, January 13, 2013

Redesigned Grosset and Dunlap Dust Jacket Spines

Grosset and Dunlap frequently reprinted books that were originally published by other companies. The Beverly Gray series is one example.  When Grosset and Dunlap took over the Beverly Gray series, the dust jackets were altered so that Grosset and Dunlap's name appeared on the bottom spine instead of A. L. Burt.  You will notice that a yellow rectangular area was used to cover the original publisher's name.

Grosset and Dunlap had little need to make alterations to any of the dust jackets for the books that it originally published.  However, some examples of altered Grosset and Dunlap dust jacket spines exist.

The white spine Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton dust jackets were created for books that were approximately 1 1/4 inches thick.  The next two pictures show some examples of very early or first printing Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton books with dust jackets.

As the years passed, the jackets stayed the same, but the books became less thick.  Eventually, the thickness of the books was reduced to slightly less than one inch.  The reduction in thickness caused the spines of the jackets to be wider than the spines of the books, so the edges of the spines folded over to the front and/or back covers of the books.  The next two pictures show the same Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton titles but for books that were printed much later.

The titles no longer fit nicely on the spines of the books like they did for the early printings.  I used to believe that Grosset and Dunlap never redesigned any of its white spine dust jackets until around five years ago when I ran across a copy of the Judy Bolton book, The Mysterious Half Cat, which has a redesigned spine with much smaller print.  In fact, the print is so small and uniform and the white spine so very white that the jacket gives off the appearance of a modern reproduction.  Shown below from left to right are examples of an early thick printing, a later less thick printing, and the redesigned spine version.

The jacket is an original Grosset and Dunlap jacket, not a reproduction.  I have seen two of them, and one other person recently reported finding one.  My jacket lists to #31 The Discovery at the Dragon's Mouth.  By the time Dragon's Mouth was published, the Judy Bolton printings were irregular, so I am not sure whether any other tweed printings exist with the revised spine.

As far as I know, no other Judy Bolton white spine jackets were redesigned.  A few years after I found the Judy Bolton redesigned jacket, I found a tweed Nancy Drew book, The Mystery of the Tolling Bell, with a partially redesigned spine.  Seen below from left to right are the first printing jacket, a tweed jacket with the original spine design, and the partially redesigned jacket.

The top and bottom portions of the spine were changed.  The title, author, publisher, and volume number were all reduced in size.  Look very carefully at the picture and you will see that the bottom part of the spine has a black rectangular-shaped area that covers what was originally on that part of the spine.  The background change for the top spine is much harder to spot.  Look underneath "KEENE" where a small area of color lift is in the center of the spine.  Going through the spine slightly under the spot of color lift is the bottom of the black rectangular-shaped area that covers the top part of the spine.

Six printings of Tolling Bell have the redesigned spine dust jacket.  This makes the redesigned jacket somewhat scarce, but the print runs from around 1960 were rather large, so quite a few of them exist.

If anyone has ever spotted any other redesigned spines, please leave a comment either here or on my Facebook page.


Dave said...

Were the star stickers on some of the books you pictured put there by one of the owners of the books, or are the stars from the publisher or retailer? I am asking because I have purchased some X-Bar-X Boys books tha have red, circular stickers on the psines, and I have seen still other Grosset & Dunlop jackets that show tears where stickers appear to have been removed.

I'm just curious if you have any insight.

Thank you for another great post.

Jennifer White said...

The stars were placed on the mylar covers by me, which means they are not on the actual jackets. I have placed stars on the mylar covers of most of my Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton first printings as a means of knowing which book on the shelf is the first printing.

Matt said...

The Red Circular Sticker can mean two things 1)AR level notification (A system used by many school to denote reading levels and point values to books which in turn are given points that a student can earn from successfully completing a test on said book), Our library using the official coloring denotes the revisions of the ND/HB Mystery Series are on a majority firth grade level (Yellow) with the occasional 6th grade level (a sort of purplish pink). that being said some schools choose their own labeling system (my mother's school for example lists 5th grade as a red star in a circle). the second possibility is an in-store inventory or sale notification. The local mom and pop stores here locally denote sales, and special inventory notices with small sticker (red is the sale sticker here but it may vary).