Friday, June 19, 2009
The Bobbsey Twins and their Earliest reprints
Although the Mershon and Chatterton-Peck publications of the Bobsey Twins are the first editions and the most sought after formats of these books, one can argue that the first Grosset formats of books #1-3 are equally scarce. The key to the first Groset and Dunlap editions is finding the books with their original dust jackets. I would claim that the earliest jacketed Bobbsey's by Grosset and Dunlap are actually harder to find than the Mershon's and Chatterton-Peck"s.
The first Grosset and Dunlap( Groset's) do not have the familiar picture of the twins on the jacket. Rather it has text extolling the virtues of the books. The cover does have an applique of the two children sitting in the flowers.Thus far I have found two variant dust jackets with the text. Both predate the pictorial jackets.
The earlier book lists the Rover Boys to Treasure Isle on the reverse of the jacket. That book was probably published in 1909. The author's name (Hope) is just under the title on the spine.
There are some interesting differences in these books that have the same dust jackets. I have seen three different back ad combinations. One I have seen has no back ads. Another lists Rover Boys to book #12 (Rover Boys at Farm) which is a 1908 book. A third copy lists the 8 Enterprise Series books that are also listed on the front flap of the dust jacket. It is impossible at this time to claim that one of these format variants is earlier or later than another.
The second Bobbsey Twins' book that has the text on the dust jacket has a different set of ads on the reverse of the dust jacket. 10 Tom Swift's are listed indicating a 1911 date. There are other ad differences but this is the main one.
After the books just described it is assumed that Grosset moved to the familiar pictorial dust jacket. This occurred by 1912 as books of this ilk have been seen with 15 Tom Swift's advertised on the back of the dust jacket. At this time the author's name was placed in the center of the spine.
These early Grosset and Dunlap reprints of The Bobbsey Twins exemplify the importance of needing the dust jackets of series books to be able to distinguish editions, formats and accurately determine dates.