Monday 30 November 2009

30 in 30

This is my thirtieth post in November. If I keep this up book and film deals are in my future. I see George Clooney playing the lead and a part will have to be found for Meryl Streep. Perhaps the ghost of my first grade teacher.

30 in the newspaper world means end of story. That suggests showing the end of two of the Canadian publishers honoured in this blog.

The first is Export Publishing Enterprises Ltd who published 156 of their News Stand Library (NSL) imprint but the last one is 157. In common with just about everything else about Export the numbering of the NSL imprint is complicated. The first two books were unnumbered. Then books 3-95 were published except see the next paragraph. There is no 96-99. Then 100-157 but there are three sets of books published with the same number - 150, 151 and 152. So 157-4+3 = 156.

Two more complications. There is an unnumbered book, Better Your Bridge by Charles Platt, which is usually slotted between books 18 and 20 because there is no 19. There are also two numbers which I consider one. Both are the same book The Long November by James Benson Nablo. The first is "13 S" and the second is "R/15". Book 13 is another title. So 13 S is the first printing of The Long November. There is no number 15 and since Export usually designated a reprint with an "R" in front of the number, I believe R/15 is the second printing of The Long November. So the sequence is 13, 14, 13 S and R/15, 16, 17, 18, [19], 20 and so on. Maybe the the "5" in "15" was misread as an "S" during preparation of the book and somehow attached to "13". We'll never know.

After that lengthy introduction let's look at the last Export book which is The Private Life of a Street Girl! by James Clayford, a house pseudonym. Here the author is Albert Quandt. The NSL edition was published in January 1951. The book was first published as Ecstasy Novel 4 by Publishers Productions Inc. of New York in May 1950. The NSL edition's art by "WES" is tame compared to its Ecstasy Novel inspiration.

NSL 157

Ecstasy Novel 4

The last White Circle published by William Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. was C.D. 545X in early 1952. However this was only the 459th book in the series. Numbers 73, 100, 119-199, 209, 212, 430 and 543 were not used - for a total of 87. And there are two books with number 527. So 545-87+1 = 459.

C.D. 545X was The Devil Man by Edgar Wallace, originally published in 1931 by Wm. Collins Sons & Co. of London. This was the second edition of the book in the White Circle imprint - the first was 255 in 1946. Both have uncredited art.

White Circle 255

White Circle C.D. 545X

The third major Canadian publisher, Harlequin, has not had a "30" yet.

Saturday 28 November 2009

Collins White Circle Artists Part I - Margaret Paull (1)

Margaret Paull was one of the few women to work in paperback publishing in the 1940s. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University), she joined Toronto's Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. in 1943 and retired in 1985. Margaret Paull died on March 31, 2008 in her 89th year.

In this post I'll talk about her first job at Collins - "designing covers for and producing paperbacks" (Quill & Quire, May 1985, p. 20). From 1943 to 1947 Paull did the art for 67 Collins's White Circle covers. These are covers for which there is a signature ("MP" or "M. Paull" or "Paull"). There may be others where the signature has not been reproduced. Forty-one of the books were detective/mystery, seven were romance, six western and the rest general. Unlike virtually all other cover artists Paull was an employee of the publisher. Typically artists were free lancers hired to produce covers.

Paull's work lacked the punch of pulp artists and the realism of magazine-style illustrators but she used colour and design elements very effectively to suggest the book's theme.

Here are her first six covers - all from 1943. They are among her best - all imaginative and eye-catching. Note the quote on White Circle 79 from W.A. Deacon, long the book editor for The [Toronto] Globe & Mail.

White Circle 52 - reprint

White Circle 74

White Circle 76

White Circle 77

White Circle 78

White Circle 79

Friday 27 November 2009

Collins White Circle Authors Part IV

The is the fourth in a series about the 153 authors published by Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. in their White Circle imprint.

Over 70% of the 429 White Circle titles were reprints of books first published by the parent company Wm. Collins in London. And the majority of these were in the mystery/crime genre, many first published in the successful Collins Crime Club series. Here are two authors from that series.

The first is among the most recognizable of the WC authors - Agatha Christie who had five White Circles. The second is Philip MacDonald with two White Circles. The only one of the seven with signed art is 228 by Margaret Paull. The artist for 365 also did the cover for Spillane's I, the Jury.

The Hollow (365) is the first Christie in 1948. First published in 1946.

The second is There is a Tide (426) in 1949 and reprinted in 1950. First published in 1948 as Taken at the Flood.

The third is Crooked House (478) in 1950. First published in 1949.

The fourth is A Murder is Announced (523) in 1951. First published in 1950.


The fifth and final is They Came to Baghdad (541X) in 1952. First published in 1951.

The first Philip MacDonald is Murder Gone Mad (207) in 1944. First published in 1931.

The second Philip MacDonald is The Noose (228) in 1945. First published in 1930.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Export Science Fiction

Six of Export Publishing Enterprises's 164 titles were science fiction. This was pretty much par for the course in Canadian paperback publishing. Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd published no science fiction in their 429 title White Circle imprint. Harlequin had just seven in the 10 years before Harlequin began publishing only romance titles. All Export art is anonymous unless indicated.

The first Export SF is the most interesting. It is the only paperback Export published that is not part of either of their two imprints, News Stand Library (NSL) or Torch. Published in 1946 for the postwar British market I Found Cleopatra by Thomas P. Kelley (misspelled on cover) was distributed in the UK by T.A. & E. Pemberton Limited of Manchester. The story was originally published in the American pulp Weird Tales from November 1938 to February 1939, then reprinted in the Canadian pulp Uncanny Tales from July to September 1941. The Export edition was an abridged version at 128 pages.

Next was the paperback original Let Out the Beast by Leonard Fischer. This was published in two editions - the Canadian as NSL 95 and the American as NSL 18A, both in January 1950. The DJ version of the American edition is also below. I tried to read this but it was, without a doubt, the worst novel I've ever started. Lasted about 30 pages before it went back in the plastic bag. Art by D. Rickard.

Then Time Trap by Rog Phillips in May 1950 - NSL 108. It was first published in 1949 as Century Book 116 by Century Publications of Chicago with a more eye-catching cover.

Fourth is The Gorilla's Daugher by Thomas P. Kelley (NSL 122) in August 1950. This was a paperback original and was reprinted with a modified number, R122. The back cover gives some idea of Mr. Kelley's writing.

The fifth Export SF was Destroy the U.S.A. (NSL 141) by Will F. Jenkins (Murray Leinster) in September 1950. First published as The Murder of the U.S.A. (New York: Crown, 1946). The second cover below is from this edition.

Also September 1950 the final Export SF was Worlds Within by Rog Philips (NSL 142). It was first published in 1949 as Century Book 120 by Century Publications of Chicago.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Westerns Part I

The popularity of westerns have waxed and waned but it seems there will always be room on the paperback display for at least a few westerns. Even Harlequin has a western themed romance series. The three large Canadian paperback publishers in the 1940s and early 50s had a number of western titles. Here we'll look at a sample of them.

Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. published 43 western titles, 10% of the total 429. All were reprints. As discussed in an earlier post about White Circle authors, Charles Horace Snow was responsible for 31 of the titles under four pseudonyms. The other authors were Tex Curran (3 titles), Frank Robertson (2) and six with one title each. The distribution of the westerns is interesting. During the WC imprint's first five years (1942-1946) eight were published. The next five years (1947-1951 plus a few months into 1952) saw 35 published. Here I offer three from that first five year period. All are 1944 and the artist is Margaret Paull.

White Circle 80

White Circle 84

White Circle 88

Export Publishing Enterprises Ltd. had 10 westerns, 6% of a total of 165 titles. All but one were reprints. Another interesting distribution - two in the fall of 1948 and then seven in a three month period in 1950. Paul Evan Lehman and William Hopson had two titles each with five single title authors. Here are the two earliest from 1948 with an anonymous artist responsible for both covers.

News Stand Library 11

News Stand Library 12

The third publisher was Harlequin who published 73 westerns, 17% of a total of 426 titles through 1958 when the last western was published. All were reprints. Again an interesting distribution. The first five years (1949-1953) saw 56 westerns published, 21.5% of all titles. During the next five years there were 17 published, 8% of the total. The peak year was 1951 with 31%. There were a number of authors which I'll talk about in another post. The first four westerns were by Charles Horace Snow under his real name. From 1949 here are two of the first four by Snow. The artwork is unsigned. 

Harlequin 6

Harlequin 21

Studio Publications Part II

In Studio Publications Part I I took a look at the first four books that Toronto's Studio Publications published. Here I'll look at the next four.

After publishing numbers 1 to 4 Studio renumbered the series starting at 105. The look and content of the books also changed. The first four books were short romances originally published by the down-scale American digests and then by the down-scale Canadian publisher Export Publications. The remaining 10 books in the series reprinted books with, if nothing else, better publisher pedigree and, in most cases, literary value.

Books 105 to 108 doubled in size to 320 pages, the price increased from 35 cents to 50 cents and photo covers were introduced.

Book 105 was Werewolf of Paris (New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1933) by Guy Endore. This had already been reprinted twice by American publishers Avon and Pocket. Unlike its American predecessors the Studio edition substituted the werewolf with the damsel-in-distress in a full pink photo.

Book 106 was High Yellow (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1937 as Children of Strangers) by Lyle Saxon.

Book 107 was Flee the Night in Anger..., an original paperback by Canadian author Dan Keller. That is Montreal on the cover.

Book 108 was Hotel Berlin '43 (New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1944) by Vicki Baum.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Studio Publications Part I

Studio Publications was a short lived but interesting Toronto company that published 14 paperbacks in the early 1950s. I'll be looking at Studio over a few posts.

The only book in the series with either a printing or copyright date is 107, a paperback original, with a 1952 copyright date.

The first four books (1 - 4) are similar in a number of ways. Each has an illustrated cover, 160 pages, a 35 cent price and were published earlier by another Toronto publisher - Export Publishing Enterprises Ltd.

The artists on the Studio editions are unknown as are those of NSL 36 and Torch 3. D. Rickard is the artist for NSL 80 and NSL 54.

Book 1, Shack-up Girl (New York: Herald, 1946 as Limbo City) by Edwin B. Self. Published by Export under its original title as News Stand Library (NSL) 36 in 1949. Export also published a different Shack-up Girl by Perry Lindsay (Peggy Gaddis) as NSL 48.

Studio 1

NSL 36

Book 2, Furnished Room (New York: Star Guidance Inc., 1950 as Passionate Lover as Stork Original Novel 5) by Gail Jordan (Peggy Gaddis). Published by Export as Shotgun Wedding as Torch 3 in 1950. For some inexplicable reason the Studio edition is identical to the Torch edition except the first paragraph in the book is gone from the Studio edition.

Studio 2

Torch 3

Book 3, Sordid Affair  by Fay Raymond. Published by Export as Detour, a paperback original, as NSL 80 in 1950.

Studio 3

NSL 80
Book 4, Sins of the Fathers (New York: Greenburg, 1946 as Heed the Thunder) by Jim Thompson. Published by Export under its original title as NSL 54 in 1949. These editions were discussed in my earlier post about Jim Thompson in Canada.

Studio 4

NSL 54

Monday 23 November 2009

Tamblyn Editions

Residents of Ontario cities before 1970 will recognize the Tamblyn Drug Store. Long absorbed into the Pharma Plus chain, Tamblyn had begun in Toronto in the early years of the 20th century. In the early 1950s Tamblyn was a partner with Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. in producing "Tamblyn" editions of Collins's paperbacks, all written by Kate Aitken. Aitken has the distinction of being the author of the last non-romance Harlequin - Never a Day so Bright published in 1963 as no. 768. 

The first Tamblyn edition was a famous cook book first published in 1945 and still in print. In 1950 Collins published its White Circle version of Kate Aitken's Canadian Cook Book as no. CD445. The Tamblyn edition was published the same year with two cover variants.

The next came in 1951 with the paperback original Lovely You (C.D. 528). The editions had identical covers, with "Tamblyn Edition" replacing "A White Circle Pocket Edition"

The final three were published as paperback originals. The first, in 1953, was Kate Aitken's New Cook Book, a new edition of the 1945/1950 original. The next, also 1953, was Canadian Etiquette for Daily Living. I don't have a copy of the cook book. The final Tamblyn edition It's Fun Raising a Family came in 1955. The White Circle line ended in 1952 so the Collins editions for the three books were referred to as "A Collins Book".