Sunday, 22 November 2020

Duchess Publishing Part I

Duchess Publishing & Printing Company was a Toronto based publisher of comics, magazines and paperbacks from the early 1940s until the mid 1950s. Here is one of its more famous books - Brigands of the Moon (c. 1946). No author is listed on the cover but the title page has John Campbell 1910-1971). This is wrong. The author is Ray Cummings (1887-1957) and the story was first published in the March to June 1931 issues of "Astounding Stories". Campbell was the editor of Astounding from 1937 to 1971 and this is no doubt how his name was attached to Cumming's book by an inattentive editor at Duchess.

The address on the back, 104 Sherbourne St, is in downtown Toronto. Sherbourne's original name was Duchess.



Monday, 3 August 2020

Star Weekly Novel Part II

I introduced the Star Weekly Novel in the last post. There are many intriguing aspects to the series, including the art in every issue - classic mid-century art that was also seen in dozens of magazines every month. We're fortunate that the Star Weekly editors noted the artists. Here are three.

Having No Heart and Long Lightning - William (Bill) Book (?-?) was a Canadian artist about whom I can find next to nothing. His work is also seen on two Harlequins.

The Case of the Grinning Gorilla - Marshall Dawson (Mark) Miller (1919-2008) was an American illustrator with careers in costume design and wine making.

Blood Will Tell - Jay Herbert (?-?) is a mystery.

There is an obvious theme to the drawings for the two crime, one Western and one romance title. 

Star Weekly Novel July 26, 1952

Star Weekly Novel  July 25, 1953

Star Weekly Novel June 13, 1953

Star Weekly Novel December 25, 1954

Friday, 31 July 2020

Anna Ruadh

After 112 years and 50,000,000+ copies sold in nearly 40 languages there is a Gaelic translation of L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. Just out from small Halifax publisher Bradan Press, Anna Ruadh is Morag Anna NicNeill's translation into Scottish Gaelic of the iconic Canadian classic.

There are, unsurprisingly, no early paperback versions of Anne published in Canada. The first Canadian hardcover edition is from Ryerson Press in 1942. I am surprised that there are no early American paperbacks. The only one is a 1940 Pocket Books edition of the fifth title in the series - Anne of Windy Poplars from 1936.

Also below is a recent edition from Penguin (2014).






Friday, 24 July 2020

Star Weekly Novel Part I

The Star Weekly Novel was published, as best I can determine, every week for 36 years from 1938 to 1973. That is about 1875 issues. The novel was part of the Star Weekly insert that Canadians saw every Saturday if they bought the Toronto Star. Usually 16 pages (15 1/2"x11") with around 40,000 words. There were a number of two part novels so I estimate around 1550-1600 titles were published.

I recently bought a few of these including Maysie Greig's That Girl in Nice, published on August 1, 1953. This was months ahead of the book, published by Wm. Collins (London, 1954). The Canadian White Circle paperback imprint was no longer around in 1953 but from 1946 to 1949 there were 12 Grieg novels published.

The artist is American Marland Stone (1895-1975).

Star Weekly Novel August 1, 1953

Star Weekly Novel August 1, 1953 back cover

White Circle 260 - 1946

White Circle 280 - 1946

White Circle 312 - 1947

White Circle 321 - 1947

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

153 and Counting

The British North American Act, enacted March 29, 1867 by the British Parliament, provided for Confederation of the three British North American colonies, Canada (Upper and Lower), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Now much amended as the Constitution Act, 1867, it was proclaimed into law on July 1, 1867 and Canada was born. The first official birthday celebration was in 1868, July 1 being named Dominion Day in 1879 and Canada Day in 1982.

Charles G.D. Roberts (1860-1943) was a Canadian poet. Here is a selection from two of his books - The Iceberg and other poems (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1934) and Songs of the Common Day and Ave! (Toronto: William Briggs, 1893).