Monday, January 28, 2013

...speaking of dusty books

I have Liberty Fund copies of Smith which I use more regularly, but my favorite copy of Smith is one from my great-grandad's library. I'm no book expert, but I think it is from 1910. Edwin Seligman (Columbia University) has an introduction to it, and in its list of previous printings of the Wealth of Nations by other publishers, the most recent it lists is 1904. The earliest edition from this publisher with a Seligman introduction is 1910, so I'm guessing this is from 1910 (if it were one of the later editions, you'd think it would have listed the 1910 edition).


  1. Well, I can tell you roughly when it was released to the public. That is a Shield Era* frontispiece (with its Morrisian theme) and quote ("I Only Know That I Know Nothing") for the Everyman books related to science (there were thirteen types of books published by Everyman at the time) which were released from 1928-1934 if I am not mistaken. Looking at the frontispiece and the like is often the best means by which tell what edition you're looking at of a book (that and things like jacket covers and so forth).

    Note that publication and edition are two different critters.

    *Look at the gilt on the spine and you'll understand why it is called the Shield Era.

    1. Thanks for the info!

      I was going to highlight that this was in the "science" series, but decided not to.

  2. You should also see Robert Knowles designed end papers as well; with the quote "Everyman, I will go with thee and be thy guide, in thy most need to go by thy side," a bunch of what basically looks like filigree and the figure of "Good Deeds" standing opposite the quote.

  3. Well, now that I look at the binding more closely I see that I am incorrect. Sorry, I jumped the gun based on the second picture. This is a "flat back" era book, so the earlier periodization you were talking about would be correct (1906-1928). I Googled "shield era binding" to see if I could find a picture but I couldn't. They really did make a remarkably elegant spine design IMO with that series.


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