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2005-03, 345, B J McMullin, Colonial Libraries


[A revised version of a talk given at the Victorian Branch Meeting, 28 May 2004]

THE identification of a volume in the hand as an exemplar of  colonial edition (or simply as a colonial ) is usually straightforward, although at times the process of determination may be problematic – not to say impossible – as readers of Graeme Johanson’s recent Study of colonial editions in Australia, 1843-1972 will have come to appreciate.

‘Colonial ’, in the generally accepted sense, comprehends such copies from within an edition as were designed for distribution exclusively in the colonies (whatever the precise status of those territories at the time) and India, which was not a colony, but an empire – as opposed, that is, to the copies from within the same edition that were designed for the ‘domestic’ (i.e. British) market.

It is customary – but none the less generally erroneous – to regard such copies as together constituting an ‘edition’, but since most colonials are over-runs (or conversions of some kind) of domestic publications they normally, speaking bibliographically, constitute issues. The legal and the bibliographical definitions of ‘edition’ may diverge markedly: for the bibliographer an edition comprises all copies printed, no matter when, from the same setting of type, whereas for the law (and the book trade) an edition may refer to a group of copies put on sale at a particular time, even if they were printed as part of the same run as groups previously put on sale or subsequently to be put on sale. Bibliographically an ‘issue’ comprises all those copies within an edition which make up a planned unit, for example by having a variant publisher or by being printed on a paper different from that of other copies. Simply put: if basically from the same setting of type the domestic and the colonial copies constitute two issues of the one edition.

When referring to ‘colonial editions’ commentators are usually in fact speaking of publishers’ ‘libraries’ (Unwin’s Colonial Library, Digby’s Indian and Colonial Library, Pitman’s Overseas Library, Murray’s Imperial Library, Macmillan’s Empire Library and so on) – that is, to series. You could, if you like, substitute ‘series’ for ‘edition’ and take in most colonials – but by no means all.

In the following notes I have attempted to observe these bibliographical niceties, which are necessary in discussing the physical attributes of the volumes in question. And, for ease of discussion, in identifying colonials I have established three categories: there may be outward signs of colonialism; there may be integral signs; and there may be forms of association.

First, identification of the colonial may be aided by outward signs: in Richard Bentley’s early series kangaroo, elephant, lion and beaver were stamped – severally or in combination, usually blind – on the back board. Other publishers were more prosaic, stamping blind on the back board ‘FOR SALE ABROAD’ (Ward Lock) or ‘WARNE’S COLONIAL LIBRARY’ (Frederick Warne) or in black ink ‘INDIAN AND COLONIAL SERIES’ (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner). Yet other publishers were satisfied with simply stamping on the backstrip ‘COLONIAL EDITION’.

Another outward sign may be a series statement – usually incorporating the word ‘library’, as already noted – stamped at the foot of the backstrip. Within colonial libraries copies might also be stamped ‘AUSTRALASIAN EDITION’ on the backstrip, presumably reflecting territorial arrangements between publishers, the intention being to differentiate copies destined for Australia and New Zealand from copies destined probably for Canada, though whether the two issues might differ internally is doubtful.

A further outward sign is said to be the fabric in which the volumes were bound, though I have to confess that I have not learnt to identify the so-called colonial cloth (can it be recognized in isolation?), and I wonder if colonials are ever to be distinguished from domestics on this basis alone.Is it rather that what is being alluded to is in fact a style of binding, peculiar to a particular series at a particular time?

The limitation of such outward signs in the process of identification is that once a colonial is rebound its identity will be lost.

More permanent signs are the integral ones – those appearing on a leaf which forms part of the ‘ideal copy’ (i.e. the form of a volume which is considered physically complete). Typically the integral signs comprise:

(i) a series statement printed on one of the pages making up the prelims, often the half-title but sometimes the title page itself; and/or

(ii) a statement of restricted circulation, also printed on a page of the prelims, often the verso of the title page, indicating the geographic area(s) to which distribution of the volume was confined.

In the declining years of the colonial the same ends might be reached by means of a rubber stamp declaring ‘Colonial Edition’, ‘Overseas Edition’, or some such, found somewhere in the prelims or on the front free endpaper.  One might wonder at what stage in the life of a volume the rubber stamp was added, whether at publication or at some later date: the earliest example that I have seen is in a volume with title page dated 1907,3 leading me to wonder whether the application of a rubber stamp was a form of remaindering, along the lines of the speculative consignments shipped to the colonies in the middle of the nineteenth century. The indignity of the rubber stamp has even extended to at least one of the early publications of The Golden Cockerel Press: A E Coppard, Clorinda walks in heaven, 1922, has ‘COLONIAL EDITION’ clumsily stamped on the front free endpaper in the Monash copy.

The removal of the leaf or leaves identifying the volume as a colonial would make it obviously imperfect physically (even if the text itself was complete) and its status uncertain: Did the missing preliminary leaf or leaves contain a series statement and/or statement of restricted circulation or not? Did the missing endpaper bear a rubber stamp or not?

Other colonials may be identified as such by association, the most common form of association being a separate catalogue of the publisher’s colonial series, bound in at the end or printed on the endpapers, the mere presence of a catalogue presumably a sufficient proof of colonialism. Admittedly, volumes containing a catalogue are usually already identified by either an outward or an integral sign (or both), but it isn’t necessarily so, so that a volume bereft of its catalogue in rebinding may thereby lose its identity.

Even more tenuous an association is a statement of colonialism appearing only on the book jacket. In the years following the Second World War printing a statement on the jacket was one way of creating a colonial, stamping the book jacket of the domestic issue another – for example, in the early 1950s the novels of Mazo de la Roche were available in Australia (and no doubt elsewhere in the former British Empire) with the front flap price-clipped and the following statement rubber-stamped parallel to the line of clipping: Macmillan’s Overseas Library | — | This Library must not be circulated | in the British Isles, The United States | of America or Canada.4

The removal of the book jacket will obviously make the naked volume indistinguishable from the domestic.

Another form of association (again probably not to be found in isolation) that I have recently encountered – a form not mentioned by Johanson – is the tipping in of a detachable bookmark declaring that the host volume belongs to a particular colonial series and advertising forthcoming titles in the series, along with other colonials not included in the main series. I first noticed a bookmark in a volume from among a miscellaneous collection recently bequeathed to the Monash University Library: Charles Stuart Calverley, Complete works (London: George Bell and Sons, 1902). The bookmark announces that the volume belongs to ‘Bell’s Indian and Colonial Library’ (BICL), in which it is No 472, and bound in at the back is a BICL catalogue dated October 1902. My curiosity aroused, I decided to try to find out how widespread the practice was of inserting bookmarks in colonials. Fortunately at hand was the Monash Colonial Editions Collection (CEC).

Subsequently another four intact bookmarks in BICL volumes in CEC were found, as well as traces of the former presence of a bookmark in a further eleven volumes, amounting to fifteen in all, representing twelve titles. Invariably, as evidenced by the now-sixteen volumes, the bookmarks were attached to one of the preliminary rectos, close to the gutter. Overall they measure up to 175mm in height by about 80mm in width, with a perforation running vertically about 12mm from the left-hand edge, the stub being pasted down. The former presence of a bookmark may be revealed by a stub (fragmentary or complete) or by the discoloration of an adjacent leaf, since the bookmarks were of a decidedly acidic paper.

Besides their evidence towards establishing the publishing history of the particular titles, the bookmarks may help in reconstructing the publishing history of the series itself, in that dates of publication, often quite precise, are given for the titles listed. Though perhaps they should not be taken on trust, the dates clearly relate to that portion of the overall edition making up the colonial issue, not necessarily to the domestic. That said, it is usually accepted that the intention was to have domestics and colonials published more-or-less simultaneously, but the dates could equally be those at which titles were available to London exporters for shipment; the evidence is contradictory, as will become evident.

The use of bookmarks in volumes from BICL was – to judge from the bookmarks themselves and the BICL catalogues bound in – confined to a period of seemingly not much more than a year (early 1902 to mid 1903), thus limiting their evidential value for the student of the book trade. At this point it is worth noting that the dates of the catalogues keep fairly close step with the numerical sequence of the volumes in which they appear, suggesting their value in assigning dates to volumes published late in the life of BICL without a title-page date – but the evidence is not always unambiguous. The instances at Monash, with series number, title-page date, and the date of

(i) the bound-in BICL catalogue, and

(ii) the catalogue found on the endpapers of the paper-bound issue are:

417 George Douglas, The house with the green shutters, 1902 (March 1902)

434 W W Jacobs, At Sunwich Port, 1902 (March 1902)

435 Benjamin Swift, Ludus amoris, 1902 (March 1902)

447 M E Francis (Mrs Francis Blundell), North, south and over the sea, 1902 (July 1902)

450 Arthur Griffiths, Tales of a government official, 1902 (July 1902)

453 Max Pemberton, The house under the sea, 1902 (July 1902)

459 C J Cutcliffe Hyne, The little red captain, 1902, from the paperbound issue (July 1902; endpapers April 1902)

463 W W Jacobs, The lady of the barge, 1902 (July 1902)* a second copy (July 1902) a third copy, from the paper-bound issue (October 1902; endpapers July 1902)*

464 A Londoner’s log-book 1901-1902, 1902 (October 1902) a second copy, from the paper-bound issue (October 1902; endpapers November 1902)*

467 W H Fitchett, Nelson and his captains, 1902 (December 1902)

472 C S Calverley, The complete works, 1902 (October 1902)*

479 Graham Hope, The triumph of Count Ostermann, from the paperbound issue, lacking title leaf (October 1902; endpapers December 1902)

491 Bret Harte, Trent’s trust and other stories, 1903 (December 1902)*

*[ Bookmark intact.]

Since it is likely that all the volumes in the range will have been treated in the same manner a full list of BICL Nos 417-491 is appended in order to point collectors to publications in which a bookmark may be present – I presume that a copy with a bookmark will be marginally more desirable to them than one without. (Of course, it is also possible that copies of titles preceding No 417 or following No 491 may yet be found with a bookmark.)5 The bound-in catalogues are dated to the month, but on the basis of those seen they were revised less frequently than monthly; on the other hand the absence of the intervening months may be merely a reflexion of the sparseness of the sample. (At a rough computation CEC contains about 220 titles from BICL, or a little under one in six of the total published.)6

I have not seen bookmarks inserted in the colonial series of other publishers, and since Johanson does not mention them we may tentatively consider them as an innovation to be credited to Bell. Given the parallel of an ongoing series of indefinite duration comprising titles published at frequent intervals, it is tempting to see the origin of Bell’s bookmarks in those loosely inserted in volumes from Tauchnitz’s Collection of British Authors, published in Leipzig from 1841 to well into the twentieth century.Todd and Bowden were able to record only 56 of the monthly bookmarks in the period July 1894 to June 1914 – i.e. 184 of the 240 months from this twenty-year period are not represented in their examination of 56,000 volumes, confirming what might have been anticipated: loose bookmarks are ephemeral (no detached bookmarks have survived in the BICL volumes in CEC). Bell’s innovation therefore may be merely to have stuck the bookmarks in.

The reason that bookmarks were abandoned in BICL so soon after their introduction is not obvious and may not now be capable of recovery. Over time (but how long?) they would stain adjacent leaves if left in place, but since they were in fact intended to be removed it would seem unlikely that a concern over their acidity was the reason. More likely is a concern over the time taken to insert bookmarks by hand in the total colonial issue. An added question is: At what stage were they tipped in? – in Britain prior to export (as seems probably the case) or on arrival in the colony? and if the latter, are those found in volumes from CEC peculiar to Australia? An associated question relevant in this context is: How large were colonial issues? According to Simon Nowell-Smith, early titles in the contemporaneous Macmillan’s Colonial Library ‘were not large, usually 500 to 1,000 copies’.8 Are such figures typical of Bell too? I take up the question later.

Handling so many BICL volumes in CEC in search of bookmarks led to a recognition that these volumes exhibited a number of features which were of interest to the physical bibliographer: Were they characteristic of colonials as a whole? In particular I wondered about the reliability of the evidence that the books themselves provided: Could one, for example, produce a bibliography of Bell’s colonials, or even of BICL alone, on this basis? On the face of it such a bibliography would seem not too difficult of achievement, given the presence of so many dated catalogues which provide the numbers assigned to volumes. If the books and the catalogues did not provide an adequate base it was clear that there would be a fundamental limitation in pursuing a bibliography: by and large (and setting aside later migrations of individual copies) colonials will be confined to institutional or private collections in India or in what were at one time or another British colonies, and similarly domestics are unlikely to be found in any number outside collections in the British Isles, so that side-by-side comparisons would be virtually impossible. The difficulty of locating copies of titles published in BICL will be further compounded by the fact that the occasional title was not for circulation in Australasia.

Despite these considerable constraints what follows is a commentary on the application to Bell of the attributes of colonialism, taking as a starting point Johanson’s study9 and confining myself to the volumes to be found in CEC.

In virtually all the CEC instances the BICL volumes are outwardly or integrally identifiable as colonials, so that in the sixteen volumes isolated by virtue of their bookmarks (past or present) the bookmarks themselves are not the sole indication of colonialism. All but the Calverley have the usual series statement, Bell’s Indian and Colonial Library, towards the upper inner corner of the half-title page, and, on the verso of the title page, the usual statement of restricted circulation, ‘This Edition is issued for circulation in India and the Colonies only’; and all have a dated BICL catalogue bound in, as indicated in the above list. Thirteen are bound in Bell’s fine-grained red cloth usual at this period, with

(i) on the front board, the title lettered blind,

(ii) on the backstrip, title, author and publisher gilt, along with decoration blind, and

(iii) on the back board, the publisher’s device blind.

The other three are in the usual paper wrappers, which are of particular interest. First, the endpapers include a list of overseas agents, which could be helpful in any study of distribution arrangements. And (unlike the cased issue) they bear a series number (on the backstrip) and (on the endpapers or binder’s leaves) a list, not always dated, of titles available, arranged by number (as opposed to the arrangement by author in the inserted catalogues); thus copies from the paper issues are especially useful in quickly determining the contents of the series at a particular time. The lists arranged by number are regularly headed by the note that The Numbers missing are Out of Print and thus not only serve their immediate purpose in listing available titles but increasingly also draw attention to how many titles were out of print at the time: one can only assume that there was no continuing demand for the bulk of the titles, which, after all, were novels that must have been of only passing interest and that never proceeded, bibliographically speaking, to a second domestic edition.10

To illustrate the extent of the contraction of the series the following counts have been made from the endpapers of several of the paper-bound issues:11

BICL numbers    1-100         101-200         201-300         301-400

1899(?)                85                 89

1900(?)                75                 78                  93

1902 (January)    44                 61                  90                 101

1905 (March)       13                 12                  44                  86

1906 (March)         9                 12                  41                  81

1907 (May)          13                   9                  33                  66

1909 (April)          11                   8                  12                  27

1918 (June)           4                   4                    4                    3

(In the numbering, Nos 47, 75 and 353 are duplicated – hence the figure of 101 in the table.)

The overall picture is clear enough: four hundred and three items had been published in the series between 1894, when the series was formally launched, and the end of 1901. At that date two hundred and ninety-six were in print, forty-four of them from the first hundred titles but a hundred and one from the fourth hundred. However, only fifty-eight of the first four hundred were still in print in April 1909 and only fifteen in June 1918. But, as the table suggests, the activity was not a straightforward matter of titles being allowed to go out of print and to remain so. Some were reprinted – i.e. they dropped out of a list or catalogue and then reappeared. It also seems probable that some titles were reprinted without ever dropping out of a list. And the temporary absence of a title may indicate only that fresh batches of sheets were being bound up, a procedure which may escape the bibliographer’s or the collector’s notice unless there is a variant binding; where there are duplicates at Monash there are indeed variant bindings.

On the basis of the figures cited, between March 1905 and March 1906 four items from the sequence 1-100 apparently went out of print; and between March 1906 and May 1907 four items were apparently reprinted or otherwise made available again – as perhaps in the binding up of available domestic sheets as colonials. However, the gross figures obscure the fact that, while BICL 70, 83, 91 and 97 ceased to be available some time between March 1905 and March 1906, between March 1906 and May 1907 BICL 2 also ceased to be available and BICL 4, 49, 70, 83 and 97 were reprinted or otherwise made available again.

Useful though they may be, the paper-bound copies may provide conflicting information: What, for example, is the relationship between dates on title pages, dates on bound-in catalogues and dates on the catalogues forming the endpapers or printed on the wrapper in paper-bound issues? Among the paper-bound volumes there may be a discrepancy of several months between the dates of the two catalogues, but presumably the volume cannot have been published earlier than the date of the later one; the most extreme instance in CEC is Constantine Ralli, Julian Steele, [1908] (BICL 799), where the bound-in catalogue is dated March 1908, the endpapers May 1907. What do the two dates signify? Since on the evidence of dated catalogues the volume was published around March 1908 it must presumably be the case that ‘old ’ endpapers, extending only as far as BICL 723, were used, either for the whole of the paper-bound issue or for only a part.

Then the bookmarks provide another date. Take the Calverley volume, for instance: the statement on the verso of the title page records the latest reprinting as May 1902; the bound-in catalogue is dated October 1902; but its own bookmark announces publication as ‘February 10th’, which I assume must be 1903. I hazard that copies were available to London exporters in late 1902 and that 10 February [1903] represents the date at which it was intended to be released in the colonies. This interpretation would certainly fit with the practice of having the domestic and the colonial published more-or-less simultaneously, referred to above, but then there is the difficulty that the domestic was published in all probability in May 1902. The Calverley volume is not typical of the series as a whole, in that Bell also published the original domestic, so that the solution to the assumed problem may simply be that it was not until around October 1902 that it was decided to produce a colonial issue, by converting domestic sheets through the association of a catalogue and the outward identification afforded by the series binding.

None the less the various discrepancies in dating (of which more below) do suggest that any attempt to establish a precise account of Bell’s colonial activities will face the fundamental difficulty of reconstituting the publication history of individual volumes in their various manifestations – i.e. we may be limited to a rudimentary listing.

The capacity to trace finer movements in and out of print in the publication history of individual volumes is hampered by the paucity of BICL catalogues in CEC arranged by number, since where duplicates exist in the collection reprinting can sometimes be inferred that is not necessarily reflected in the catalogues. At this stage I might note the value of apparent duplicates: the so-called ‘duplicity of duplicates’ is not confined to publications of the hand-press period.12  By the late nineteenth century most novels were presumably printed from stereo plates; in BICL such a procedure is occasionally explicit, as in Archibald Clavering Gunter, The Princess of Copper, 1900 (BICL 348), where the printer’s imprint reads ‘Printed froplates by Woodfall and Kinder, Long Acre London’. Given the technology of stereotyping, it is obvious that unannounced reprinting, as already suggested, could take place without being recognized – unless, that is, there is a palpable difference, either textual or physical, among copies.

One instance of apparent reprinting (here identified on the basis of a single copy) is offered by Kate Douglas Wiggin, Penelope’s Experiences in Scotland (BICL 223), which was first published in the series in 1898 (no copy in CEC). The CEC copy is from the paper-bound issue, with the title page dated 1901; the cover is dated 1902, with the BICL list (forming the endpapers) dated January 1902 and extending to BICL 418 (published early in 1902). How many printings did BICL 223 go through?

Further instances of apparent reprinting are not so clear-cut and on closer examination may lead to other conclusions. Beatrice Harraden, Ships that Pass in the Night, eventually numbered BICL 1, was an immensely popular novel, extending to at least eleven domestic ‘editions’ in the year of first publication, 1893.13 Judging from the BICL catalogues, it remained in print until April 1909, though even in the 1890s it seems to have been reprinted at least once – or such is the immediate implication of the two copies in CEC. Both are dated 1894 and begin with a gathering of four leaves signed A, but otherwise they differ in a number of ways. One copy (X) bulks 13mm; the first four leaves are integral [= A4], and the imprint of the printer, Woodfall and Kinder, appears on A2v; the paper is ‘wove’ and highly polished; it has no advertisement at the back; and the front board has the series title but not the volume title. The other copy (Y) bulks 18mm; the first two leaves, which are conjugate, are cancels [= A4(-A1,2 +1.2)], removing the printer’s imprint and rearranging the contents of the two leaves; the paper is ‘laid’ with an ‘antique’ finish except for A1-2, which are on the same paper as X; an advertisement leaf containing thirty-three items, on the X paper, is inserted after the text; and the front board includes both the series title and the volume title. On the basis of the advertisement leaf, X is presumably the earlier of the two; Y appears to have been reprinted by some one other than Woodfall and Kinder – hence the cancellation to remove the firm’s name. But such a conclusion does not account satisfactorily for the cancellation of two leaves rather than the replacement of the necessary number of plated pages ahead of a new impression;14  instead, the difference in paper points to what is a recognized (and possibly common) phenomenon: the conversion of domestic sheets into colonials by cancelling the required leaf or leaves in order to incorporate the series title and the statement of restricted circulation. I take it that the laid paper is superior to the wove, that the laid is the domestic, the wove the colonial, and that, to satisfy the demand for further copies of the colonial, domestic sheets were converted.

On the evidence of the handful of ostensible duplicate pairs in CEC, the incidence of variation in the prelims of volumes in BICL is likely to be quite common. For example, of the two copies of Kate Douglas Wiggin, Penelope’s Irish Experiences, 1901 (BICL 384) one (with a June 1901 catalogue) is 18mm in bulk (M), the other (with a November 1901 catalogue) 32mm (N), a difference which cannot be ascribed to the effects (or absence) of pressing. In N the title leaf is also a cancel, though – despite the poor inking – it appears to be from the same setting as in M Penelope’s IrishExperiences  thus would appear to parallel Ships that Pass in the Night in existing in ‘pure’ colonial form and in ‘converted domestic’ form, though the identity of the two title pages may give us pause. (The statement of restricted circulation appears on the verso of the title page, but the half-title page (present only in M) does not bear the series title.)

Other examples may be ambiguous. For example, the two copies of Margaret Audoux, Marie Claire, 1911 (BICL 961) are indistinguishable, differing only in whether the two leaves carrying the series title (a2) and the statement of restricted circulation (a3) are integral or cancels; one begins a8, the other a8(-a2,3 +1.2). In the hand-press period the explanation for such a situation would likely be that a change (here to colonialism) was made at press during the run and that the cancels were printed at the end of the run (from the same type) to be inserted in those copies of a sheet which had been printed before the change was made at press, so that the leaves in question may be disjunct in some copies, integral in others. Perhaps the same applies here. Categorization would seem to depend on whether the change was made prior to publication (two states of the two leaves) or after (conversion of sheets of the domestic issue, published by Chapman and Hall, also in 1911).

Further instances of reprinting or conversion could be inferred from single copies in CEC, particularly where the ‘colonial leaves’ are cancels, but the examples already discussed are sufficient to suggest that while the progress of the series was certainly one of continuous renewal, with older titles being replaced by newer, there was undoubtedly a degree of complexity the extent of which, however, probably can only be guessed at from the volumes themselves.

The conversion from domestic to Bell-colonial might take one of two possible forms, as already alluded to. One form – presumably reflecting an arrangement made before at least the printing of the first gathering had begun – was to have the printer produce two sets of prelims, one for the originating domestic publisher, the other for Bell (with Bell’s imprint, a series statement and the statement of restricted circulation);15 often enough the prelims of both domestic and colonial consist of a conjugate pair only, but whatever the make-up of the prelims the leaves peculiar to Bell are an integral part of a gathering. The other – probably reflecting an arrangement made some time after the first gathering had been printed – was to cancel the original leaves (assuming that two were involved: half-title and title) and replace them by two disjunct leaves or a conjugate pair, so that where in the domestic the gathering containing the title leaf consisted of more than two leaves the Bell leaves are not integral. Where two copies are available for comparison it appears that both forms of simultaneous conversion are found in the same title, as in Marie Claire; but, as noted above, where there is no difference apart from the cancellation, again as in Marie Claire, the same evidence could be used to support an argument in favour of belated conversion.

Johanson observes of Bell (p.114) that his colonial business ‘consisted of the purchase of sheets fresh from the presses of other publishers and binding them up as colonial editions’. In this Bell may have differed from the likes of Macmillan and Heinemann, who seem to have been the domestic publishers of many of their colonials. But though practically all the volumes in BICL originate with other domestic publishers, there are occasional instances where changes to the domestic sheets were not needed. Calverley, for example, was a ‘Bell author’, so that in the case of The Complete Works colonialism was achieved outwardly and by association only.

How many copies made up a Bell colonial issue clearly varied – in fact widely – primarily no doubt according to the perceived market for particular titles. Johanson’s rough estimate (p.115) is that the average sales for BICL volumes amounted to 902 copies per title – this the result of dividing the total number claimed by Bell towards the end of the life of the series to have been sold (‘over’ one and a quarter million)16  by the number of titles in the series (at least 1386).17  For some titles, however, readily available18 precise figures exist for the numbers issued. On the one hand Simon Nowell-Smith records (p.100) that Bell bought six novels by Gissing and seven by Meredith – 1,500 copies of Gissing’s latest novel In the Year of Jubilee but only 750 of his older novel The Emancipated, while the figures for Meredith ranged between 750 and 1,000.

These figures sit well with Johanson’s estimate. In the same study, however, Nowell-Smith reports (p.8) the figure 2,500 for Meredith’s The amazing marriage, 1895 (BICL 100).

Rather larger figures apply to the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; in their bibliography Green and Gibson (G&G)19  record thirteen Bell colonials, all but one published domestically by Smith Elder. The earliest of these (BICL 20; G&G A8e) is The White Company (first edition published 26 October 1891, second edition 26 March 1892); Bell’s colonial, comprising 2000 copies of sheets of the second edition, was issued 4 January 1892. (The CEC copy is from a ‘new edition with illustrations’, dated 1906; it has an April 1906 catalogue bound in.)

The disparity of dates for The White Company provides confirmation of the practice of delaying the publication of the domestic issue in order to ensure simultaneous release at home and throughout the Empire; here the twelve-week interval was presumably sufficient in the era of the steamship and the Suez Canal to allow copies to be on sale in the furthest reaches of the Empire – Dunedin or Invercargill, for example – on 26 March.20  On the basis of this instance it would appear that the advertised date for the publication of a colonials was the date on which copies were available to the London exporters.

After The White Company, issues of Doyle’s fiction in BICL ranged from 4000 to 15,000 copies, with six of the nine being 10,000 or more.

From today’s perspective we may think of Conan Doyle as a ‘special case’, but to do so is possibly to underestimate the contemporary popularity of certain writers no longer read. Consequently it could well be that BICL titles were issued in numbers on average well in excess of the numbers implied by the sales figures, a situation which in the case of Macmillan was ameliorated by the conversion of colonials into domestics, an option presumably not open to Bell.

If Green and Gibson’s dates are correct – and there is no reason to doubt them – it means that Bell was issuing colonials at least two years before the formal constitution of BICL. This observation would require further substantiation, but Ian Norrie’s passing comment in relation to E A Petherick (see below) that in 1894 Bell ‘began a rapid expansion of his own colonial business’21 is an acknowledgment that the firm was already active in this branch of the trade. The implications for a study of Bell’s colonial activities are obvious.

In addition to the author being from Bell’s stable, The Complete Works of C S Calverley is unusual in BICL, though not unique, in not being a work of fiction. (Non-fiction titles were included in other publishers’ colonial series, though overwhelmingly they comprised recent novels.) It is also unusual in apparently not being intended as a colonial from the outset, the colonial being a conversion of the domestic third impression: the verso of the title page declares ‘First Edition of Complete Works, published June, 1901. Reprinted, August, 1901; May, 1902.’ There is a second copy of Calverley at Monash (in the Main collection), which in its letterpress agrees in all respects with the other;22 it has the October catalogue, but there is no evidence of there ever having been a bookmark. This second copy has been rebound, so that the BICL catalogue is the only evidence of its colonial status.

Not in dispute is that colonial series in general comprised current fiction. And Heinemann were not alone in initially naming their series a ‘Colonial Library of Popular Fiction’ before reducing it to ‘Heinemann’s Colonial Library’. Many of the novels are to modern eyes of little worth – Johanson at various points in his study cites a number of writers expressing their ‘disdain for colonial editions’, though what is at issue is not really the colonials as objects but the novels themselves, and perhaps the colonists’ supposed preference for such novels over more ‘ literary’ fiction. The disdain is perhaps justified when considering the colonial series in isolation, but it takes no account of the rest of the book trade in the colonies – i.e. local reading, taken as a whole, may not have been as unsophisticated as critics of the colonial series have concluded, that, popular though the colonial series undoubtedly were, they did not constitute the sole reading of Australasian colonists. As an aside, an early discriminating reader of the CEC copy of Dornford Yates, The Courts of Idleness (Ward Lock, n.d.) felt the urge to express his or her own disdain by adding in pencil to the title page ‘pre-adoscelent [sic] tripe’.

As already indicated, there were exceptions to the charge of worthlessness: it is perhaps surprising – given the usual disparaging attitude towards colonial series – to find in BICL a handful of older, ‘classic’ novels of the nineteenth century, such as Pickwick papers (BICL 18), A Tale of Two Cities (25), The Newcomes (71), Vanity Fair (72), Framley Parsonage (73), Doctor Thorne (74), Shirley (78), Bleak house (80), David Copperfield (81) and Pride and Prejudice (280). Of these only the last – an illustrated edition – remained in print for any length of time. Jane Eyre was also included in the early (un-numbered) lists but seems to have quickly gone out of print: it does not appear in any of the CEC lists/catalogues in which numbers are assigned (it was probably BICL No 77). It is noteworthy that all of the classic novels date from the earliest years of the series, implying a ‘change of direction’ implemented before the turn of the century, as a result of which the emphasis became more emphatically attached to current fiction. These early classic novels also reflect what seems to have been a more serious intent on the part of Bell in establishing BICL – note, for example the first twenty-five titles (not, however, necessarily published in this order):

1. Beatrice Harraden, Ships that Pass in the Night

2. Georg Ebers, An Egyptian Princess

3. Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

4. E F Benson, The Rubicon

5. Gilbert Parker, The Translation of a Savage

6. Björnstjerne Björnson, Arne, and The Fisher Lassie

7. G Manville Fenn, The Star-gazers

8. William Westall, For Honour and Life

9. Mrs Oliphant, The Prodigals

10. George Hooper, Waterloo: the Downfall of the First Napoleon (with maps and plans)

11. Nathaniel Hawthorne, Transformation (The Marble Faun)

12. S T Coleridge, Table-talk and Omniana

13. C S Calverley, Verses and Fly-leaves

14. Henry Seton Merriman, With Edged Tools

15. Maurus Jókai, Eyes like the Sea

16. Mary E Wilkins, Pembroke

17. Charles Dickens, Pickwick Papers

18. F A Mignet, History of the French Revolution

19. Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company

20. W H Mallock, A Human Document

21. Julius Stinde, The Buchholtz Family

22. RW Emerson, Essays and Lectures

23. R W Emerson, English Traits and Nature

24. Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

It is instructive to compare the titles in this list with those in the sequence 417-491 (see Appendix) when judging the ‘make-up’ or ‘quality’ of the series. The apparent seriousness exhibited at the launching of the series is reflected too in some of the advertisements in the earliest volumes in BICL, where the series is entitled ‘Bell’s Indian & Colonial Library of Standard Literature and Fiction’. Such an advertisement is found, for example, in Gilbert Parker (and others), The March of the White Guard, and other tales, 1894 (BICL 28); here there are twenty-seven un-numbered titles, followed by the statement ‘Others to follow’. What the status of this list is is uncertain. It contains seven titles which, from the evidence of later numbered lists, had not yet been published; and of the seven it would appear that only one ever did appear in BICL, A. Poushkin, Prose Tales (BICL 52). The remaining six comprise two novels by Captain Marryat (Peter Simple and Midshipman Easy) and four works that would undoubtedly qualify as ‘standard literature’:

Edmund Burke, Speeches on the Impeachment of Warren Hastings; and letters (2 vols)

W H Maxwell, Victories of Wellington and the British Army

Mrs [Anna] Jameson, Shakespeare’s Heroines

Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (2 vols)

It is possible that these six were included in BICL but went out of print very quickly, never to be assigned a number and never to be reprinted. More likely perhaps is it – despite the implication of the list in BICL 28 – that they were never in the event included in the series.

Another list is in issue Y of Harraden, discussed above, containing thirtythree unnumbered titles and also with the promise of ‘Others to follow’. Among the thirty-three are the two Marryat novels and the Burke and the Jameson but not the Maxwell or the Smith, thus suggesting that the last two almost certainly never proceeded beyond projection. The additional six comprise two novels by Thackeray (The Newcomes (BICL 71) and Vanity Fair (72) ); two by Gissing (Denzil Quarrier (26) and The Emancipated (29) ); Grant Allen, Science in Arcady (38); and Parker (28).

A complicating factor which may have a bearing on the fate of these titles advertised in 1894 but apparently not included in BICL is Bell’s ownership of H G Bohn’s various ‘libraries’ of cheap reprints, acquired by Bell & Daldy in 1864 when Bohn retired from the book trade. Many of the volumes of BICL have bound in a further catalogue, of Bohn’s Library, volumes of which were available singly or as a collection; among them were titles also included in BICL or at some time considered for inclusion. Thus when the series was relaunched in March 1913 as Bohn’s Popular Library, ‘in new and distinctive format … Printed on thin paper and strongly bound in cloth’, at 1s. a volume, among the first batch of forty were the Jameson (No 30) and Mignet’s History of the French Revolution (No 32; BICL 19). Perhaps there was some indecision whether a particular volume should be a Bell or a Bohn (the latter were also originally 3s.6d. a volume). The relationship between the two series I have not pursued.

Surprisingly there is no correspondence in the first year or so between the order of publishing and the numbers subsequently assigned to particular volumes. At what stage numbering took place, and on what basis, I have not established; the first numbered list that I have seen is a single leaf bound in with BICL 32, 57 and 63. (The earliest dated BICL catalogue that I have seen is for December 1895, in BICL 112.) Whatever the basis for the numbering, we are faced with the task of reconstituting Bell’s colonial activities in the period before BICL became firmly established, before numbers were assigned. And to be able to show that titles included in the early lists were never published will be demonstration too of the risks of taking them as evidence of actual publication rather than of an intent sometimes unrealised.

Despite the dropping of Burke, Smith and the other items of standard literature promised in the early advertisements BICL did contain a sprinkling of non-fiction titles, notably works by W.H. Fitchett, President of the Methodist Ladies’ College in Melbourne from 1882, who is represented in CEC by ten titles in fourteen volumes. Among them are his best-seller, Deeds that won the Empire 1899 (BICL 198), and the four-volume How England saved Europe: the Story of the Great War (1793-1815), 1900 (323-326).

One Fitchett ‘curiosity’, which anticipates the discussion in the following paragraphs, is the two-volume The new world of the south, 1913, volume 1 subtitled Australia in the Making, volume 2 The Romance of Australian History. CEC contains only volume 2, but there are two copies of volume 1 in the Rare Books collection. The element of curiosity is that it was apparently never assigned a BICL number, despite having all the signs of colonialism: series title; statement of restricted circulation: BICL catalogue bound in (April 1913 in volume 1, November 1913 in volume 2); BICL red binding.23  Demand for it in the colonies may well have been confined largely to Australasia, so that its colonialism was possibly to some extent qualified; whether that was the reason to deprive it of a number I cannot tell.

What the Fitchett volumes (and the series as a whole) have in common is that they are – in book-trade parlance – crown octavos (c.7½ x 5 inches, or c.190 x 125mm), the standard size for new novels among publishers at large.

Establishing the exact content of BICL is made that much more difficult by the existence of volumes – like The New World of the South – which on the half-title declare themselves to be part of a Bell colonial series and usually contain a statement of restricted circulation but which were never assigned a number and therefore were never included in BICL catalogues, though they were advertised on the outside of the back cover of the paperbound issues, on spare leaves at the end of BICL volumes and on the 1902/03 bookmarks. These volumes were advertised as from ‘Bell’s Colonial Editions of Standard Books’ (as in the Calverley bookmark), ‘Bell’s Colonial Editions’ or similar formulations, formulations which simply indicate that the particular volumes, though constituting colonial issues of the titles in question, were not intended to be part of BICL. Producing colonials outside a named series was not confined to Bell; for example, Unwin advertised ‘Special Colonial Editions of Important Books’, in demy octavo.

Why certain colonials could not be included in their publishers’ numbered series is that they could not be sold at the standard colonial price of 3s.6d. in cloth, 2s.6d. in paper wrappers, a price structure which remained constant for the life of BICL, as it did for other publishers’ colonial series, a price structure which Johanson (ch. 7, ‘Prices and pricing’) points out was unrelated to the costs of production. No doubt BICL – and other British publishers’ colonial series – came to a halt when the inflationary pressures of the First World War made it impossible to maintain this price structure.

One might wonder, too, about the effect of competition from the various domestic series which were priced even more cheaply. Was there a mechanism for barring colonial readers from access to such series? For example, Heinemann (who was by no means alone in publishing a multiplicity of domestic series) offered Heinemann’s Popular 2/- net novels, Heinemann’s Library of 1/- net novels and Heinemann’s 7d. net novels, which might offer competition for his colonial series – thus in 1912 Baroness von Hutton’s Pam and What Became of Pam. At the same time Heinemann also had ‘The Empire [or Heinemann’s] Library of Standard Works’. Bell offered at least one title in a ‘special cheap colonial edition’, in foolscap octavo, paper covers at 1s.: Kate Douglas Wiggin, Timothy’s Quest, which was actually included in BICL catalogues, along with other Wiggin titles, but not numbered.

Unlike Fitchett’s New World of the South, most non-fiction titles were published in a larger size than crown octavo, demy octavo (c.8¾ x 5½ ins, orc.220 x 140mm) being favoured, as in six of the seven advertised on the Calverley bookmark, the price of which ranged from 7s.6d. to 12s., reflecting the superior standards of production (including paper, binding and illustration). As with the BICL volumes, the ‘extras’ came from various domestic publishers: of the seven on the bookmark, three came from C Arthur Pearson and one each from Smith Elder, T Fisher Unwin and J Macqueen, with Rose’s Life of Napoleon I being a Bell original.24 And, like BICL volumes, domestics were transformed into colonials by printing variant prelims or by cancellation (at whatever stage). On the other hand there was no uniformity in binding: all that I have seen are in what I take to be the domestic binding but with Bell’s name at the foot of the backstrip and typically-Bell ornamentation stamped blind on it, features which must, I think, have been added before the case was attached. One consequence of their size is that very few have a BICL catalogue (always crown octavo) bound in.

It is characteristic of colonial series to be bound in a uniform style, which might, however, change in the life of the series. Over the life of BICL (1894–1918?) cased volumes typically appeared in one of three cloths:

(i) 1894-1897, pink, with a smooth, polished surface;

(ii) 1898-1908, red, with a fine grain;

(iii) 1903-1918? various dark colours with an overall pattern, blind.

The temporal limits are provisional, rendered tentative not only by dependence on the sample provided by CEC but also by the number of undated items, particularly in binding style (iii). This, however, does not exhaust the range of bindings found on volumes published in BICL  Particularly later in the life of the series Bell seems at times to have been content to accept the domestic publisher’s binding, which was adapted by simply adding his name at the foot of the backstrip and impressing the pattern blind, as with the ‘extras’; thus volumes published domestically by Eveleigh Nash, including Max Pemberton, The Man who Drove the Car (BICL 929) and H Rider Haggard, Queen Sheba’s Ring 1910 (BICL 930), both dated 1910, are bound in a greyish-green cloth with a lithographed illustration laid on the front board.

On the basis of this limited acquaintance I judge it likely that any attempt to establish the full range of Bell’s colonial activities will prove somewhat difficult, perhaps even with access to the surviving archives. To start with, there is the likely difficulty of:

(i) establishing the extent of the ‘pre-history’ of the colonial series, hinted at by the publication history of Conan Doyle’s The White Company, and

(ii) determining whether volumes announced in the early volumes of BICL were in fact published. Then there are those other patent colonials issued outside the numbered series (are they all the subject of advertisements?) and, at a different level, the various unannounced forms/issues of individual titles: identifying them could, at a century’s remove, prove impossible.

The difficulties already suggested are not exhaustive.

There is the oddity that Bell was the colonial publisher of titles from at least one domestic publisher which had its own colonial series: C Arthur Pearson. It is puzzling to note that in 1902 Pearson was publishing its own colonials in Pearson’s Colonial Library,25 volumes which were available in ‘stiff paper wrappers’ and cloth and ‘issued for circulation in the British Colonies and Dependencies only’. Perhaps Pearson restricted its colonials to the named series and contracted with other publishers for those which did not meet the subject, size or pricing requirements for inclusion in Pearson’s Colonial Library—or perhaps they were of perceived unprofitability.

Then there is the question of the relationship between Bell and E A Petherick: Nowell-Smith (p.96) notes that in 1889 the latter launched Petherick’s Collection of Favourite and Approved Authors and that when he was bankrupted in 1894 the series ‘was taken over by one of his creditors, George Bell & Sons.’ Do any volumes which started life in Petherick’s Collection show any evidence of their transfer to Bell? I have certainly seen none.

A further topic which would need to be explored is the distribution arrangements made with booksellers in the colonies. In CEC is a copy of H G Wells, When the Sleeper Wakes, 1899 (BICL 273), which internally is unexceptionable: it has the series title on the half-title page and, less usually, the statement of restricted circulation on its verso; the title page has Bell’s imprint; and a BICL catalogue dated March 1899 is inserted. But the volume is bound, most unattractively, though serviceably, in a plain dark-greenpebble-dash cloth, lettered on the backstrip ‘WHEN THE | SLEEPER | WAKES | WELLS | E. S. WIGG & SON’. Wigg was one of Bell’s agents in Adelaide; this volume may be evidence that Wigg created his own colonials from Bell sheets. The next stage for our bibliographer would be to establish the extent of the Wigg connexion and to determine what the arrangements were. Were bound copies sent from London? Were unbound sheets sent to Adelaide to be bound up there? (Printing in Australia from British plates seems unlikely for a volume already included in BICL, and it is hard to believe that Wigg would have disbound already-bound volumes.)

Moreover, if one is interested in Bell’s overall colonial activities, rather than in just the one named series – dominant in those activities though that series may be – the quest will not be limited to those categories of publication discussed above, and here we get to what seems to me to be an insuperable problem, one that bibliographers and collectors alike would probably prefer to ignore. It is that, technically speaking, any volume from a publisher’s list is a colonial if it was supplied from Britain to the trade in the ‘colonies’ (whatever their precise status) on colonial terms—quoting Johanson (p.2): they were sold by British publishers to exporters to the Empire at fifty percent less than they were sold to retailers in the United Kingdom.

In addition, the period of six months which publishers allowed for Australasian and South African booksellers to pay for the books which they ordered was unique to colonial editions.26

Individual copies supplied on colonial terms were not confined to publications either in named series or identified in some other way (by outward or integral signs or by association). In other words a domestic (with or without an obvious colonial equivalent) supplied on colonial terms is, in this comprehensive but strict definition, a colonial. One might therefore have to consider all copies of Bell publications as colonials if supplied to an Australian distributor at the time of publication.

Hence the full extent of Bell’s colonial activities can never be established with any certainty beyond listing titles that were included in the BICL catalogues or that were ‘extras’, advertised as colonials outside the series. One might then ask whether the effort would be worth the labour undoubtedly involved. Certainly a simple listing of BICL volumes (arranged by number and then by author), along with the extras, would be a contribution to the history of the book in Britain and its overseas markets, in particular to a study of Bell’s activities in supplying those markets, but whether either of these larger aims would be completely achievable may be a moot point.

If we restrict our concerns to named series, which seems sensible, a further question arises: overlooking cultural and economic concerns, What was the significance of colonial editions? Perhaps we should first note that the interest in colonials may be centred on them either as objects or as texts. Johanson (p.6) quotes disapprovingly the judgment of Edel and Laurence, in their bibliography of Henry James, that colonials ‘ have only a relative bibliographical importance’.2 7 In effect they describe only first editions (American and English), and they have chosen to regard colonials, though acknowledged as part of the first edition, as ‘being of the nature of reprints’ and therefore out of scope, though in the body of the bibliography they refer to colonials on a dozen occasions, mainly to note the transfer to the English domestic issue of sheets from the colonial. Johanson also quotes John Carter, in the ABC, to the effect that ‘colonial copies are regarded by collectors with disfavour’, a judgment retained in the most recent edition.28 Little can be said about collectors’ attitudes apart from observing that tastes in collecting may be difficult to make generalisations about and that in the former colonies themselves things may now have changed. My own observation would be that collectors are particularly attracted to series, especially if they are numbered.

Approaching the topic from the point of view of text (and ignoring the implications of ‘relative’) Edel and Laurence are, I believe, justified in their judgment, in that the fact of colonial issue is an element in the history of a particular work/text/edition, but, since the colonial sheets (beyond the prelims) are almost invariably over-runs of the domestic or subsequent conversions of it, textually colonials, being identical with the corresponding domestics, must be regarded as of no importance, unless proved otherwise. (I have chosen to ignore the bindings of those colonials where the evidence of colonialism is confined to a statement on the binding—i.e. where there is no difference whatsoever in the sheets.)29

The exceptions to this conclusion are likely to be confined to the rare colonials which were not over-runs. Nowell-Smith, for example, cites (p.95) the case of Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, published domestically by Smith Elder in two volumes and re-set by Macmillan in one volume for inclusion in their colonial series; given Hardy’s propensity for revision, and particularly in view of the textual differences between the first British edition and the first American, it may be that the colonial edition30 contains readings not found in either of its predecessors – but Nowell-Smith in 1966 had not been able to locate a copy of it. BICL offers its own example of textual variation, in Gertrude Page, Paddy-the-next-best-thing, [1908] (BICL 835), of which there are two copies in CEC, one (the earlier) in the normal red cloth, the other (not a new edition but a re-issue with some resetting) in a light-blue cloth. On the verso of the dedication in the blue copy (blank in the red) is the ‘AUTHOR’S NOTE’:

The representations of many enthusiastic readers, and lovers of “Paddy,” who expressed themselves exceedingly disappointed with the end of my story, have finally prevailed upon me to rewrite my last two or three chapters.

In this new edition, for the first time, “Paddy” finds that particular happiness in the end, which so many of her adoring readers begged me to give her.

London, Feb., 1912.

In the event Page rewrote chapters 44-46 (pp.347ff.), so that the red copy finishes on p.370, the blue on p.365 – i.e. the red collates … 22-238 242 (the text finishing on 241v), the blue … 22-238 (the text finishing on 227r). Paddy may never demand the attention of a textual critic, but it does serve to confirm the occasional textual variation within titles published in BICL, though in this case the variation presumably exists within the domestic issues too.

This preliminary venture into colonial territory has identified certain of the obstacles to arriving at a destination marked by a complete picture of Bell’s colonial activities. Acquaintance with the publisher’s archives may provide the required map, but I leave the territory to be explored by others, an exploration which will necessarily take in Reading.

B J McMullin.

Appendix: BICL items 417-491 (1902-1903) (the date is that of publication advertised on one of the bookmarks)

417 George Douglas, The House with Green Shutters *

418 John Strange Winter, A Matter of Sentiment

419 H B Marriott Watson, The House Divided

420 Mary E Wilkins, The Portion of Labour

421 Dick Donovan, Jim the Penman

422 Guy Boothby, The Curse of the Snake

423 R H Savage, The Mystery of a Shipyard

424 Hume Nisbet, A Dream of Freedom

425 A C Gunter, Deacon and Actress

426 Major A Griffiths, A Bid for Empire

427 John Finnemore, The Lover Fugutives

428 L C Davidson, The Theft of a Heart

429 J S Fletcher, Bonds of Steel

430 G Griffith, The Missionary

431 Fergus Hume, The Pagan’s Cup

432 Guy Boothby, The Childerbridge Mystery

433 Stephen Crane, Last Words

434 W W Jacobs, At Sunwich Port *

435 Benjamin Swift, Ludus Amoris *

436 Leonard Merrick, When Love flies out of the Window

437 Bret Harte, On the Old Trail

438 Arthur Griffiths, A Duchess in Difficulties

439 John Strange Winter, A blaze of Glory

440 Graham Hope, My Lord Winchenden

441 A St Aubyn, The Scarlet Lady

442 Richard Marsh, Between the Dark and the Daylight

443 L T Meade, Margaret

444 H.B Marriot Watson, Godfrey Merivale

445 Kate Douglas Wiggin, The Diary of a Goose Girl and A Cathedral Courtship

446 K & Hesketh Prichard, Tammer’s Duel

447 M E Francis, North, South and over the Sea *

448 George Griffith, The White Witch of Mayfair

449 Guy Boothby, Uncle Joe’s Legacy

450 Arthur Griffiths, Tales of a Government Official *

451 Louis Becke, The Strange Adventure of James Shervinton

452 Louis Tracy, The Wooing of Esther Gray

453 Max Pemberton, The House under the Sea *

454 R H Savage, For a Young Queen’s Bright Eyes

455 Katharine Tynan, The Love of Sisters

456 John Oliver Hobbes, Love and the Soul Hunters

457 Anthony Hope, The Intrusions of Peggy

458 Eleanor C. Price, Angelot (25 November)

459 C J Cutcliffe Hyne, The Little Red Captain *

460 John Strange Winter, Uncle Charles

461 Lady Beatrix and the Forbidden Man

462 A E W Mason, The Four Feathers (11 November) †

463 W W Jacobs, The Lady of the Barge (18 November) *

464 A Londoner’s Log-book 1901-1902 (2 December) *

465 Rosalie Neish, How to Choose a Husband

466 Charles Hiatt, Henry Irving: a Record and Review

467 W H. Fitchett, Nelson and his Captains *

468 Mrs J H Riddell, Poor Fellow

469 Mrs C N Williamson, The Little White nun

470 Lucas Cleeve, The Man in the Street

471 Guy Boothby, The Countess Londa

472 C S Calverley, The Complete Works (10 February) *

473 R H Savage, Commander Leigh (February)

474 Bernard Capes, A Castle in Spain

475 John Strange Winter, Marty (February)

476 Katharine Tynan, A Red, Red Rose (March)

477 Bertram Mitford, Dorrien of Cranston

478 Thomas Cobb, The Intriguers

479 Graham Hope, The Triumph of Count Ostermann *

480 Louis Becke, Helen Adair

481 C J Cutliffe Hyne, Captain Kettle, K.C.B.

482 Mrs Henry de la Pasture, Cornelius

483 E W Hornung, No Hero

484 Iota, He for God only

485 Frank Aubrey, King of the Dead

486 E Spender, The Law-breakers

487 George Moore, The Untilled Field.(19 May)

488 J & T Le Breton, The Chronicles of Choisy (26 May)

489 Louis Tracy, Princess Kate (2 June)

490 Guy Boothby, The League of Twelve (9 June)

491 Bret Harte, Trent’s Trust and Other Stories *

The same bookmark is found on BICL 463 and 464. BICL 491 contains a bookmark which does not include the volume itself.

* Copy in CEC with bookmark intact or with evidence of one having at some time been present.

† Copy in CEC without any evidence that a bookmark was ever present.


1 Elibank Press, PO Box 27-376, Wellington, New Zealand (Australian distributor: Eliban Press, PO Box 1463, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2650).

2 Since I have not been able to bring together colonial and domestic issues emanating from the same publisher I have not explored the likelihood that in such cases ‘colonial cloth’ may be a relative term, that colonials were bound in a cloth inferior to that employed for the domestics.

3 ‘COLONIAL EDITION’ is stamped in purple on the verso of the title page of Henry Harland, The Cardinal’s Snuff Box (London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1907) in the copy in the Colonial Editions Collection at Monash University, on which see further below.

4 Examples of Mazo de la Roche volumes with book jackets so treated are to be found in the Colonial Editions Collection. One also has a wrap-around banner identifying the volume as a colonial, not to be introduced into the British Isles, the USA or Canada.

5 BICL 492, Violet A Simpson, The Bonnet Conspirators is included on the bookmark in the CEC copy of 491, dated 26 May, the same date as for BICL 488. It is likely, therefore that copies will have been issued with a bookmark.

6 An unknown number are in the Main collection.

7 William B Todd and Ann Bowden, Tauchnitz International Editions in English 1841-1955: a bibliographical history New York: Bibliographical Society of America, 1988), especially Section L9 (pp.863-5) ‘Ephemera: book-marks, leaflets, colored bands, miscellanea’. Two bookmarks are illustrated on p.864. The earlier form of Tauchnitz bookmark simply listed the month’s publications in numerical order, while the later highlighted one or two (with commendatory reviews) on one side and listed the remainder on the other.

8 Simon Nowell-Smith, International Copyright Law and the Publisher in the Reign of Queen Victoria (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968), p.100.

9 Johanson uses the firm of Macmillan as the major illustration for his exploration of the colonial phenomenon as it took definitive shape at the end of the nineteenth century.

10 I pass over the limitations possibly imposed by arrangements made with the domestic publishers limiting Bell’s continuing access to particular titles.

11 In, respectively, Mrs J H Needell, The Honour of Vivien Bruce, 1899 (BICL 281), catalogue undated; Wilson Barrett and Elwyn Barron,In Old New York, 1900 (306), catalogue undated; Kate Douglas Wiggin, Penelope’s Experiences in Scotland, 1902 (223)  Frank T Bullen, A Son of the Sea, 1905 (624); Guy Boothby, A Royal Affair and Other Stories 1906 (675); Agnes Farley Ashdod, 1907 (748); Lucas Cleeve, Lady Susan and not the Cardinal, 1910 (903); Arthur Conan Doyle, His last bow, 1917 (1381).

12 The term is Falconer Madan’s – see F Madan, “The duplicity of duplicates” and “A new extension of bibliography”, Transactions of the Bibliographical Society 12 (October 1911– April 1913), 15-24. Madan’s second thesis is ‘ That it is dangerous to part with any book as a duplicate, if printed before 1800, without close inspection’.

13 The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English (ed. Ian Ousby), rev. ed. (Cambridge: CUP, 1993) records that ‘Success came with Ships That Pass in the Night (1893) which sold over a million copies.’ The earliest edition listed in the British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books to 1955 is the 11th (1893).

14 Bibliographically an impression comprises all copies printed at the one time from substantially the same setting of type.

15 There is the occasional instance where in a volume – in this instance ‘Thormanby’ [W Willmott Dixon], The Spice of Life; a Medley of Memories, 1911 (an ‘extra’, not numbered for BICL) – Bell prelims (in a gathering [A8] of normal conjugacy) are ‘contradicted’by an advertisement on the verso of the last page of text advertising a new book by the domestic publisher, Everett and Co., a book subsequently advertised by Bell.

16 The June 1918 catalogue is preceded by the statement that ‘OVER 1¼ MILLION VOLUMES OF THIS POPULAR SERIES ARE IN CIRCULATION’. In April 1909 the comparable claim was that ‘OVER ONE MILLION VOLUMES OF THIS POPULAR SERIES ARE IN CIRCULATION’.

17 The final number in a series is not always an entirely reliable indication of the total issued: Johanson (Appendix 1: Macmillan’s Colonial Library of Copyright Books, 1886-1913) reports that numbers 343, 456 and 473 were apparently never assigned, and in BICL there was the occasional duplication, as noted in the discussion of reprinting.

18 Not ‘readily available’ are Bell’s cash books and ledgers, 1840s-1960s and correspondence,c 1836-1970, housed at Reading University Library – see Alexis Weedon and Michael Bott, British Book Trade Archives 1830 – 1930: a location register ([Bristol]: Simon Eliot and Michael Turner, March 1996); as of March 1996 the records had apparently not been commercially microfilmed.

19 Richard Lancelyn Green and John Michael Gibson, A bibliography of A. Conan Doyle (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1983) (Soho Bibliography XXIII). Another readily available figure is that for G K Chesterton, The Wisdom of Father Brown, 1914 (BICL ? – not found in any BICL catalogue): 1300 – see John Sullivan, G.K. Chesterton, a bibliography (London University of London Press, 1958), No 32. Sullivan, however, does not record the colonial issue of his no. 8, The Club of Queer Trades, 1905 (BICL 599) – copy in CEC.

20 I am grateful to Dr Nirmolini Flora for drawing my attention to the Foreign and Colonial List of Richard Bentley, dated 25 March 1885, which records a minimum transit to Wellington of 42 days. (Australian figures include Adelaide 38 days, Melbourne 40, Launceston 42, Hobart 43, Sydney 43, Brisbane 44 and Townsville 47.)

21 Publishing and Bookselling, Part One: Frank Arthur Mumby, From the earliest times to 187 ; Part Two: Ian Norrie, 1870-1970, 5th ed. (London: Jonathan Cape. 1974), p.249.

22 The frontispiece portraits differ: in the Main copy the portrait has no boundaries and is signed ‘G J Stodart’; in the newly-acquired copy the portrait is rectangular and is signed ‘ArtRepro Co’.

23 In the Monash Rare Books collection there is also a copy of volume 2 of the domestic issue, published by Smith Elder, in a red cloth binding with a wattle blossom in coloured inks on the front board.

24 I have seen none of these titles.

25 For example, in CEC, E Noyes Westcott, David Harum.

26 Nowell-Smith reports (p.98) that Macmillan did not set a retail price for their colonials: ‘Such a price could in any case only have been nominal. The volumes were invoiced to London wholesalers at 2s. in cloth and 1s. 6d. in wrappers: the retail price in the colonies, which most other publishers in the nineties gave as 3s. 6d. and 2s. 6d., inevitably depended on local factors including duty and on the cost of transport.’

27 Leon Edel and D H Laurence, A Bibliography of Henry James, 3rd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982) (Soho Bibliography VIII), p.388.

28 John Carter, ABC for Book Collectors, 7th ed., rev. Nicolas Barker (London: Werner Shaw, 1994).

29 None the less, in contrast with the hand-press period (i.e. up to the general introduction of edition binding in the mid-1820s), the bindingbeing the publisher’s must properly be regarded as part of the issue.

30 Here ‘edition’ is bibliographically accurate, since the colonial is from a separate setting.



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