Sunday, 7 February 2010

Canadian Paperbacks? Part II

Part I began the discussion about paperbacks published in Canada by Canadian arms of American companies. Here we'll look at two more companies. The first is Avon Book Company and its Canadian edition of W. Somerset Maugham's Theatre. The US edition was published in 1944 and was number 56 in the series. The Canadian edition does not mention any Canadian publisher but rather a distributor, The American News Company, Ltd at 474 Wellington St. West in Toronto. The copyright page states that the book is printed in Canada. As was the cover which differs from the American with the addition of a "29 cents in Canada" price tag and, typically with Canadian Avons, no series number.

The two Popular Library Canadian editions are John Erskine's The Private Life of Helen of Troy and Anita Loo's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, published in 1948 and 1950 respectively. Both are published by Montreal's Better Publications of Canada Ltd. Both books state printed in Canada but in this case the covers are American printed as stated, identical to the US editions.

The two covers are among the most recognizable vintage paperback covers published. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is signed by Earle Bergey. The Private Life of Helen of Troy is not signed and has been attributed to Bergey as well as Rudolph Berlarski. Based on the evidence Bergey seems to be the artist.

Popular Library 147

Popular Library 221


  1. I'm pretty sure that Belarski is the artist of The Private Life of Helen of Troy. In volume 27 of Illustration Magazine there is a photo of Belarski holding the proofs of the covers for "Helen" and "A Woman of Samaria". Below is a link to the photo:

  2. Thanks for this. Pretty good evidence that it is Belarski.

    1. You're welcome. Great blog by the way. I have many Canadian paperbacks and I consult this blog often!

  3. Thanks again. I've been posting a lot less last few years so great to hear that you're following and enjoying.