Monday, June 8, 2009

The Mershon Company- History and Dust Jackets

The Mershon Company was an active publishing house between 1897 and 1906. Mainly known as a reprint house of classics and juvenile literature, it also published a number of original
works such as the Bobbsey Twins and Rover Boys.

In 1893 the Cassell Publishing House was reorganized. Apparently its previous manager Oscar Dunham had absconded with $180,000 and financially Cassell was in a desperate situation. A new Cassell Publishing Company was organized in New York with William Mershon as president and manager. Prior to this Mershon had been in charge of his own bookbinding, electrotyping, and printing establishment. in Rahway , NJ.

In 1897 Mershon left Cassell to start his own publishing company. In 1905 the name of the firm was changed to Stitt. Apparently the new company run by William Stitt was not successful and the company returned to the Mershon imprint in 1906.

Apparently He was in business until October,1906 at which time his publishing business were sold to Chatterton- Peck. Charles Peck had been a long time employee of The Mershon Company.

For more details see John Dizer: Tom Swift. the Bobbsey Twins and Other Heroes of American Juvenile Literature. The Edward Mellen Press. 1997
Frequently ads from dealers and booksellers describe books as without dust jacket-as issued. The reality with most all books from the 1890's and later is that generally all of them had jackets and/or were boxed. Of course, no amount of explanation is enough. My thought is that if you do not know something about a book, then make no claim.

Here are two sample ads from a book sales service:

Captain Bailey Heir
Henty, G. A.
Mershon, 1900. Hard cover. Book Condition: Good. Good. No dust jacket as issued.

By England's Aid Or The Freeing Of The Netherlands 1585-1604
Henty, G.A.
Mershon Company. Hardback. No Dustjacket, probably as issued.

It amazes me that without knowledge and without doing the research that some dealers assume jacketless books are the norm- when quite the opposite is the case. This entry shows a couple of jacketed Mershon books from the first decade of the 20th century.


  1. I have a book of THE SONG OF HIAWATHA. It has no date or nothing to show when it was printed. I like this book very much. However, I am getting older, now I would like to know if this print is worth to keep.

  2. Today, I was given a darling little ancient padded book of Holmes Poems. It doesn't even have a copyright anywhere within it. I have a good scan of it but there doesn't seem to be a way to send it along. Is there anything you can tell me about it?

  3. I have 'Jane Eyre " Currer Bell aka Charlotte Bronte.. 2nd edition published 1847-1848, as far as i can tell number 19, published by The Mershon Company...can anyone tell me if it is a rare book... should i donate it to the library ? email.

    1. I also have a book that says it was published in 1854; however, the publisher, Mershon, did not exist then, so I had to assume (as with your book), that it is *not* a first edition.

  4. I have a very old book of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
    Translated by Edward Fitzgerald
    The Mershon Company
    Rathway,N.J New York
    No copywrite date
    Handwriting on inside cover
    To Andrew Carl Steele or Otule xmas 1918
    When was it published?

  5. I have a copy of Robinson Crusoe published by Mershon Co but there is no date in the book. Front cover shows man with rifle kneeling in front of a tent while second man with rifle standing and pointing weapon towards woods.. It is inscribed "To Dorothy from Papa and Mamma, Christmas 1904". Is there any way to tell when book was published?

  6. I have a 12 volume set of William Shakesphear
    published by The Mershon Co. copyright 1885.
    Binding and pages in good shape a couple have pencil writting on a page. where could I sell them? And what are they worth? Thanks

  7. I have a copy of a book titled Reveries of a Bachelor by IK Marvel Published through The Mershon Company New York. It does not have a jacket and does not have a publishing date. The center of the cover has a torch and two buterfiles and the outer edge has 18 crests which look like wings with an hourglass shape in the middle. Can you provide some information on this book and is it very rare? Thank You. John

  8. I Have a copy of In Memoriam by Tennyson - no copyright but published by Mershon. The book is very small in fair condition = it has and oval stamp in the middle with other decoration around it and is maroon in color. looks like it was received by the buyer in 1898 and read in 1902. Would love to know if it is worth anything.

  9. I was given a 12 book set of The Works Of William Shakespeare. The copyright is 1885 published by The Mershon Company. They have been sitting in a box in my closet for 10 years. I would like to know if they are worth anything. Thank you. Jill

  10. I have a set of 13 books on Dickens. Published by the Mershon Company. I am trying to value them o find a good home for them

    1. I have the same set. There is no copyright date but someone had written "1897" and a note inside one of them. Were you able to find any other information?


  11. I have a copy of The Last of the Mohicans by Cooper, no dates just The Mershon Co publishers...I would like a date and maybe a worth...

  12. I have a green hardback book with roses (Children Of Wilton Chase)The Mershon Co, I don't know a lot about books but wanted to know if it was worth anything?

  13. Bought the book 'Ishmael' from a flea market for mere cents, because of the beautiful cover and come to find out it has no copyright date in it, but was published by the Mershon Company, which ceased to exist in 1906. I know it's that old, atleast. It appears to have been a library book at one time, as there are glue imprints where a library card slot would have been, inside the front cover. It's in extremely good shape for a book that's over a hundred years old! It is Red, with black lettering, and a beautiful black and grey reed motif on the front cover. I would love to know when it was published and why there's no publishing or copyright dates in it. Thanks so much.

  14. My son has a Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare" book published in New York by The Mershon Company Publishers. There is no date on the jacket and I have searched the internet and not found any other known Romeo & Juliet books published by this author. Is there any way to find out the value of this book

  15. Please send response to regarding the Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare book. This book is in very good condition and I need to know its value.

  16. I have a book title "Conversations on the Bible" by Enoch Pond and published by C A Nichols Company of Springfield, Mass in 1891. I have found copies of this book published in 1881, 1887 and 1888 but not 1891. Please email me at and advise me if anyone knows the value of this book

  17. I have a copy of "The Complete Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe, with memoir by J.H. Ingram," published by The Mershon Company. Nicely decorated hardcover, no dust jacket, no date (maybe a page missing?). Condition is fair: intact, slightly frayed spine. Does anyone know if the book has any value?



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  37. I have a book called The Emigrant Ship by W Clark Russell. It was published in 1893 by The Mershon Co. Copyright date is 1893. The book is in fairly good condition. Can anyone tell me anything about this book?