The Dust Jacket:
The original format of the books that debuted in 1930, was a book with blue boards and a dust jacket or "wrapper"
as they are sometimes called. This was the style of many of the series books that were
in that time. And style they had--most collectors prefer the dust jacketed books to
the later picture covers for the beautiful and vivid cover art on the dust jackets.
As these books surface today, however, the dust jackets often are not in the best
shape--tattered, in pieces, or missing altogether.
The white spine dust jacket featured above on the left, debuted on all of the first 22 volumes.
The basic features of the dust jacket were the illustration on the front, a
listing of books on the front and back inner flaps, and an advertisement
or listing on the back cover of the dust jacket.
The spine featured the book's title, the author's name, volume number, and the
publisher--Grosset & Dunlap.
Also for dust jackets through about 1933--which covers volumes 1-10--the back
underside of the dust jacket featured a listing of various series books.
Inside the back of the book there would be a notice to not throw away the
wrapper--to use it as a guide to books to buy and read.
If you click on the image which is shown at the left you will get a full size
view of an example of the way the back of the dust jacket looked. This is
from an early printing of The Secret of the Old Clock. These 1930-1933 dust
jackets are very nice to collect just for the back of the dust jacket. This wrapper style with the lists of
other series on the back is likely a factor in the lack of dust jackets that surface today on early
printings. Children likely used the underside of the dust jacket to mark on and check off titles
they had and titles they wanted. Some children probably carried this around and used it
trips and sprees and it eventually wore out or served the purpose
that it was intended for and then the jacket
was thrown out.
Wrap Spines & Spine Silhouettes:
As the years went by, there were some additional changes. As you can see the spine of
The Secret of the Old Clock on the left has a silhouette of Nancy. This wasn't always the case--from 1930 to 1941, there were no spine silhouettes--see image at right. Beginning in 1941, with the second
printing to volume #18, The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion and all 1941
and on printings of volume #'s 1-17, the spine silhouette appeared, as shown to the left.
The silhouette has the trademark 1930's style Nancy w/ scarf and shadow. Consequently,
this makes the first printing of #18 more collectible because it is the only #18
without the silhouette. The 1930's silhouette was used only on these
white spine dust jackets and The Mystery of the Tolling Bell and was blue--the size of the silhouette
was much larger on the Tolling Bell spine however.
Beginning with volume #23, The Mystery of the Tolling Bell,
the white spine dust jackets were not used for volume #'s 23-38 and
instead wrap style dust jackets were produced. The spine silhouette on #23 was gray to blue in color. These wrap dust jackets were the format for #23 through #38.
The picture on the front literally wrapped over onto the spine and a very small
part of the back cover--as shown to the left--pictured is volume #26,
The Clue of the Leaning Chimney.
The spine featured the title, the author, no volume number on some, volume numbers on most, and the publisher Grosset & Dunlap.
Several of the earlier volumes before #23, were also produced in wrap dust
jacket and no longer in white spine dust jacket. This can be confusing for new collectors,
in that you tend to think of the white spine as the earliest and the wrap
spine as the latest. However, for example, volume #10,
The Password to Larkspur Lane continued to be produced in white spine dust
jacket along side with the other
volumes that were issued in wrap dust jacket, right up until the picture cover format was introduced.
The following table breaks down the different volumes that were printed with which style of dust jacket:
| Dust Jacket Types:
| White Spine
| #'s 1-22
| Wrap Spine
| #'s 23-38, 1-9, 11-12
For volume #24, The Clue in the Old Album, the color of the silhouette was
color and had a shadow, shown on the left in the image at left.
It was missing the telltale
scarf and the nice Russell Tandy style used for the 1930's silhouette,
found on white spine dust
jackets and the wrap dust jacket for Tolling Bell.
For volume #25, The Ghost of Blackwood Hall and #26,
The Clue of the Leaning Chimney,
the color of the silhouette was yellow-orange but
had no shadow--shown on the right in the image at left.
This is when the silhouette was revised.
Beginning with volume #27, The Secret of the Wooden Lady, the spine symbol was no longer a silhouette. It was a profile of Nancy facing right holding a magnifying glass within a circle, which was within a box.
This symbol was used for the rest of the wrap dust jackets from #27 through #38 and all picture covers #'s 1-56.