Sunday 9 August 2015

Canadian Hardboiled America Part I

Geoffrey O'Brien's Hardboiled America (New York: Van Nostrand, 1981) is the best introduction to vintage paperbacks of the 1940s and 50s. Not so much a history it places these paperbacks in the world for which they were created. Hardboiled for O'Brien means "... naturalistic novels, political novels, spy thrillers, conventional whodunits - all those books that seem to orbit near the undefinable quality I have referred to as the hardboiled novel."

Not surprisingly American editions of the paperbacks are used to illustrate the book. There is a checklist of 334 titles (1929 - 1958) at the end of the book, of which 13 had early Canadian paperback editions. Here are two.

Howard Hunt's Maelstrom was first published in 1948 (New York, Farrar, Straus). The Harlequin edition beat the first (Signet 768 - 1950, retitled Dark Encounter) American paperback version to market.

Harlequin's edition of Night and the City (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1946) by Gerald Kersh came out the same year as the first American paperback - Dell 374.

Harlequin 3 - May 1949

Harlequin 3 back
Harlequin 45 - May 1950
Harlequin 45 back

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Retitled Harlequins Part I

If you believe some book dealers' listings for the first 500 books published by Harlequin Books many are PBOs. In fact only 25 of the 480 titles (20 of the books are renumbered reprints) are PBOs. I suspect that one of the reasons is that almost one-fifth (88) of the 455 titles originally published by other publishers were retitled by Harlequin. Here are three examples.

Hoodlum Alley was originally titled At Your Service and published in 1932 by New York's Macaulay Company.

People of the Night was originally titled A Kingdom by Night and published in 1953 by London's Andrew Melrose.

Out of the Night was originally titled The Black Dark Murders and published in 1949 by New York's Quinn Publishing. This is a PBO.

Harlequin did not acknowledge the name changes.

Harlequin 305 - July 1954
Harlequin 305 back
Harlequin 329 - February 1955
Harlequin 329 back
Harlequin 335 - April 1955
Harlequin 335 back

Wednesday 1 July 2015

Harlequin Artists Part XXXIV - ATR (1)

The first 500 books published by Canadian Harlequin Books from mid 1949 to early 1960 had 489 different covers. Of these eight were either all type or photographs leaving 481 illustrated covers with 294 having identifiable signatures. Another 18 have initials that are not associated with known artists or illegible signatures. I think I have a good guess for three of those books.

Three books in 1953 were signed by "ATR". A likely candidate is Aileen Tyrrell Richardson (1916-2005). She was a graduate of the Ontario College of Art, lived in Toronto and was an active mid-century illustrator for Canadian magazines, including Chatelaine, and books.
Signature - Harlequin 216

Harlequin 216 - February 1953

Harlequin 230 - May 1953

Harlequin 234 - June 1953

148 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.

I work at an institution that was founded in one of the BNA colonies, Nova Scotia, 78 years before Confederation - the University of King's College. One of our early graduates (1815) was Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865) whose The Clockmaker was published in 1836 by Joseph Howe later a premier of Nova Scotia. Still in print the latest edition is from Peterborough's Broadview Press. Joining Sam Slick is Canadian author Hugh MacLennan's Barometer Rising which takes place in 1917 Halifax. 
White Circle C.D. 529 - 1952
White Circle C.D. 529 - back

Saturday 18 April 2015

White Circle Twins Part II

Surprising or not publishers of early paperbacks often chose the same scene from the book for the cover. Here is one example crossing the "longest undefended border in the world' (is it still?). The Canadian is from Wm. Collins Sons and Co. Canada Ltd and the American from Avon Publishing Co., Ltd.
White Circle 215 - 1945
White Circle 215 back
Avon 165 - 1948
Avon 165 back

Harlequin and Armed Services Editions Part I

I've recently been picking up some of the 1322 books published in the U.S. from September 1943 to June 1947 by Editions for the Armed Services, Inc. A couple of new books, American Pulp by Paula Rabinowitz and Molly Guptill Manning's When Books Went to War have reignited my interest in this fascinating series.

With two exceptions the 99 ASE reprints were given new numbers in the series so there were 1225 titles. Ten of those titles were also published by Harlequin Books, including the very first Harlequin, The Manatee by Nancy Bruff. Many of the ASEs are the first paperback edition, as is the case here.
Harlequin 1 - May 1949

Harlequin 1 back

ASE 1104 - January 1946

ASE 1104 back

Saturday 7 March 2015

Export Publishing at Auction Part II

In my last post I listed 17 of the 20 early Canadian paperbacks from Export Publishing Enterprises Ltd  that have recently come up at auction. Here are the three that haven't.

6ASin for Your SupperDouglas, Milton
12AFrustrationClayton, Henry C.
18ALet Out The BeastFischer, Leonard

News Stand Library 6A with DJ - June 1949
News Stand Library 12A with DJ - November 1949
News Stand Library 18A with DJ - January 1950

Export Publishing at Auction Part I

A number of now uncommon paperbacks published by the Canadian publisher Export Publishing Enterprises Ltd in 1949 and 1950 for the American market have recently come up at auction. They are distinguished by having dust jackets glued at the spines. For close to $5,300 (average $310) you could have been the owner of 17 of the 20 books. Here are the results:

$148 4A Each Night a Black Desire Plagemann, Bentz
$339 5A Offer Any Price Willis, George
$175 7A The Pagans Benedict, Jack
$350 8A Dirty City Young, Michael
$449 9A Torch of  Violence Forrest, David
$300 10A This Was Joanna Brooks, Grant R.
$427 13A No Place in Heaven Warren, Laura
$275 14A Death Be My Destiny Perrin, Neil H.
$266 15A Jesse James Kelley, Thomas P.
$502 16A Daughters of Desire Knight, Fletcher
$342 17A The Penthouse Killings Brown, Horace
$202 19A In Passion's Fiery Pit Brown, Joy
$339 20A Sugar-puss on Dorchester Street Palmer, Al
$155 21A The Door Between Perrin, Neil H.
$271 22A The Governor's Mistress Desmond, Warren
$515 23A Pick Up Scott, Leslie
$220 24A Overnight Escapade and other stories Mark, Stephen
News Stand Library 7A with DJ - August 1949
News Stand Library 8A with DJ - August 1949
News Stand Library 9A with DJ - November 1949