From the FAQ:

What are other sources
of Modern Library information?

In addition to ModernLib (this Web site), the e-Mail discussion group, the fanzine, and The Guide, Modern Library collectors will find the following sources of information useful:

  • Publications by Barry Neavill: A series of papers & articles by the foremost bibliographer of Modern Library maerials. Click here for the list.
  • eBay: Some sellers provide great descriptions and photos. Even if you can't afford that particular early Modern Library in dust jacket, you at least know what it looks like, and might get a bit of history regarding the book and its author. The photos are generally larger and of a higher resolution than those in the ModernLib dust jacket database. Additionally, some seller descriptions even include a brief review of the book itself - useful if you actually read your books.
  • "The World’s Best Books": Taste, Culture, and the Modern Library: Jay Satterfield's 2002 piece deals with the socio-historic side of the Modern Library series. From the book's blurb: "Focusing on the Modern Library's marketing strategies, editorial decisions, and close attention to book design, Jay Satterfield explores the interwar cultural dynamics that allowed the publisher of the series to exploit the forces of mass production and treat books as commodities while still positioning the series as a revered cultural entity. So successful was this approach that the modern publishing colossus Random House was built on the reputation, methods, and profits of the Modern Library."
  • Scribners Present the Modern Library in First Editions: In 1938, the Rare Books division of Scribners produced a catalogue (issued with no dust jacket) of Modern Library source books. Sold through its rare book outlet on New York's 5th Avenue, the catalogue featured available first editions whose text was the source of the current Modern Library list. The individual entries contain some pretty interesting information about the sources. For more info and photos, see the ModernLib article.
  • A Descriptive Bibliography of The Modern Library :1917-1970: Written by George Andes in 1989, this was the first large compilation of ML information (albeit largely incomplete with lots of errors). While much of this pioneering research was later corrected and updated by Henry Toledano in The Guide, Andes' bibliographic information remains unique in the published annals of Modern Library resource material. Although devoid of information about dust jackets and with precious little about bindings, its illustrations continue to provide valuable reference material. Its print run was limited to 500 copies. You can still find this in a near fine dust jacket for around $125. The collection of books that Andes used to compile his piece is for sale at an absurdly high price, and is described on the Web at The Boston Book Annex Web site.
  • The Random House Modern Library New Books site: Announcements, synopses, and reading guides for books in the currently available series.
  • Glossary of Book Collecting Terms: Not specific to the Modern Library but an excellent resource nonetheless is the excellent illustrated glossary of book collecting terms at the Website for My Wings Books.


Contributors to this FAQ answer include:

John Krygier Joe Hill Jimmy Williamson
Scot Kamins Sam Ockman Barry Neavill
Toby G. Levy

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