Introduction To The ModernLib Database

An ongoing project of ModernLib content contributors
& the ML Mailing List e-mail discussion group

The ModernLib Modern Library database contains images and information about individual Modern Library titles (1917-1991) largely unavailable elsewhere in the Web or in printed form. It supplants and largely replaces information in the Toledano Guide. The database is the heart of ModernLib.


The database contains thousands of dust jacket and related images, many enhanced or reconstructed from original scans in an attempt to represent ideal states, and includes a wide variety of variations and types: pictorials, design types, and all text styles found on flexie's and hardbacks; illustrated edition acetates and box images as well as the illustrations themselves; and P-series numbered paperbacks (as opposed to the college paperback editions).

A dust jacket might be missing from the database because no one has submitted an image. (Click here to see a table of dust jackets likely to be missing from the database.) If you have a qualifying dust jacket that isn't shown, please let me know: The database will grow only as collectors like you submit new entries.

DJ Dates

A date range above a dust jacket (for example 1926 - 1929) refers to the earliest and latest dates that ModernLibbers have reported for that DJ, or whose dates have been inferred based on DJ design knowledge. This provides a fairly certain date range that jacket was in use. This range will change as new dates are spotted.

A single date without any other qualifying text above a dust jacket (for example 1937) refers to the only reported copy—it doesn't mean that the jacket image shown is a first printing dust jacket.

A question mark [as in 1940(?) - 1970] indicates a logically inferred date but that could be a year or so off either way.

Sometimes you'll see a + after the second date (as in 1970+ or 1971+), indicating that an ISBN number appears on the DJ (usually on the back) pointing to an indeterminate date between 1971 and 1975.

Titles published in January usually had jackets with catalogs from the previous fall. So a book with a publication date of, say, 1929 could show a 1928 dust jacket listing.

If you have a dust jacket in that style that falls outside the listed range, please report it!

Access to Information: Key to Symbols & Icons

All titles on each Author page have at least one clickable icon associated with them. Most have more. Here's what clicking an icon brings up:

Called a BookNote, here's where all the most important facts and figures about an individual title are gathered. Each BookNote holds as many as 15 separate information items—first edition points, dates in print, confirmed sightings of DJ and binding types, genre and curriculum info, plus sales figures, notes about printing history, and other stuff. Sometimes contains links to further information or graphics. (Click here to see a detailed example.)
Link to a web-based author biography (detailed when I can find it, sketchy when I can't), when possible at sites specializing in that author. (Click here to learn more about web-based biography links.)

Table of contents of a specific title. Reserved for books of essays, short stories, anthologies, and the like.
As above, but with at least one entry in the table linked to web-based content. (Click here to learn more about web-based content links.)
Links directly to the web-based complete text of a work, sometimes with graphics and/or ancillary information. (Click here to learn more about web-based content links.)
Opens offsite table of contents of a title; the ToC links to web-based contents. When this icon appears in the writer's name field, it usually points to a writer's web-based collected works. (Click here to learn more about web-based content links.)
Metacontent about a title (plot summary, historical context, importance, criticism, and so on) or an author's complete works (style, influences, school of thought). Either opens a local window or links to an external page. (Click here to learn more about metacontent.)

Blurbs from the panels and flaps of dust jackets, with original capitalization, punctuation, and spelling preserved.
Found below boxes and/or acetates of illustrated editions, shows several representative illustrations for that title.
Found next to author's name, indicates that selection(s) by author appear in anthology. Clicking icon goes to page bottom to list of selections.
19xx - 19yy Found above DJ image, indicates that this DJ might exist for a date earlier than 19xx.
19xx - 19yy Found above DJ image, indicates that this DJ might exist for a date later than 19yy.
19xx - 19yy Found above DJ image, indicates that 19xx - 19yy are the only years that this DJ was in use.
19xx - 19yy Found above blurry DJ image, indicates that we strongly believe that a DJ in the style of the blurry image exists, likely for the years indicated, but is thus far unreported.
Produces a blowup of a dust jacket like the one under which it appears.
Gets this table

Where the name of a dust jacket's designer/illustrator appears below a DJ image, click the name to go to a gallery of other DJs by the same designer/illustrator. If the name isn't clickable, the immediate DJ is the only one currently confirmed as his/her design.

You'll also find that most pages end in this Running Torchbearer icon: Clicking it brings you to the ModernLib Home Page.

How the Database is Organized

Individual titles are grouped under their author's name and are displayed with all accumulated dust jacket variations and specific information (such as first edition points) grouped by title. For example, there are nine dust jacket variations shown for Whitman's Leaves of Grass.

As well as a general index to the entire Website, indexes exist with a variety of focuses: You can search by author, book title within publishing formats (regular issues, giants, numbered paperbacks), or genre. In addition to these composite indexes, separate searches exist for all illustrated issues, for dust jacket images created by specific designers, for anthologies of works written by multiple authors, and the pictorial djs of the 1930's (Toledano types Dj 6 & Dj 7). This last search presents a visual index—clicking an image brings you to that author's page. Here are the indexes:



     Graphical Indexes


     General Access to Entire Site

About the Reliability of Information

Information in the database—indeed, information throughout this Website—was gathered from sources that I believe to be reliable. But I couldn't check out every purported fact, observation, first edition point, etc. to verify the information. ModernLib is a cooperative venture: If you find something that isn't true, please let me know and I'll update it.

E-mail questions & comments to the editor