Saturday, June 20, 2009

Francis Rolt-Wheeler and the George Doran Series

Rolt-Wheeler wrote two juvenile series that were published by George H. Doran Company.

George Doran was born in Toronto in 1869. After working at the Evangelical publisher Toronto Willard Tract Depository, in 1892 he moved to Chicago to work for the publisher Fleming Revell. He was with Revell until 1907 and in 1908 began his own publishing house George H. Doran. Initially located in Toronto and subsequently also in New York, his list gradually grew. He was quite successful and he eventually merged with Doubleday , Page and Company (1927) becoming Doubleday, Doran and Company. This merger made the new company the largest publishing house in the English speaking world.(American Literary Publishing Houses, Edited by Peter Dzwonkoski, Gale Research Company 1986)

The Romance-History of America is a 4 volume series. These books, which have numerous glossy illustrations and maps, trace the history of America from the earliest days of prehistoric times to the end of the 17th century. Although not rare, the books in dust jacket are still good finds.

1. In the Days Before Columbus 1921
2. The Quest of the Western World 1921
3. The Coming of the Peoples 1922
4. Colonial Ways and Wars 1925

The dust jackets have pictorial multicolored book appropriate pictures which are also the frontispieces.

The other series published by Doran is the 5 volume Round the World with the Boy Journalists series. Interestingly some of the book covers from this series were also used in the other Doran series. There does not seem to be a patten and subsequent printings may have used randomly placed book covers.

This series follows the adventures of a different boy in each book in various exotic locales.

1. Plotting in the Pirate Seas 1921
2. Hunting Hidden Treasure in the Andes 1921
3. Heroes of the Ruins 1922
4. A Toreador of Spain 1923
5. Magic-Makers of Morocco 1924

These books only have glossy frontispieces which are also used as the picture on the dust jacket. As with the other Doran series, the books are not rare but getting all five in dust jackets is still somewhat difficult.

I have included a representative sampling of dust jacket pictures here. If you wish to see any or all of the others, let me know.

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