From the FAQ:

Did all Modern Library books
come with dust jackets?

All Modern Library books except for the buckram editions were released with dust jackets. The illustrated editions, published simultaneously with "standard" Modern Library editions in the middle 1940's, had either glassine coverings or cardboard cases instead of paper dust jackets to protect them.

Most used books - not just Modern Library books - are tough to find with decent dust jackets. The purpose of the dust jacket was to protect the book on the shelf in the store, to promote sale of the book through the blurbs on the back, and to keep the book safe from the weather on the way home. People routinely tossed the dust jacket as soon as they unwrapped the book, the dust jacket being considered just a fancy kind of wrapping paper. Additionally, folks were encouraged by the Modern Library itself to destroy the dust jackets—all dust jackets from 1925 through 1959 had coupons on the back that you could use to order more titles, and to use the coupon you had to destroy the jacket.

It's really a wonder that so many dust jackets have survived at all.

Contributors to this FAQ answer include:

Henry Toledano Scot Kamins

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