The Art on the Dust Cover

You’ve found another old book. Now you’ll need to find some shelf space or, for us in over our heads, floor space to house this new treasure. But wait, this latest acquisition has the original dust cover.

Dust covers/book jackets provide much needed protection for that rare, or not so rare tome, to me they are often works of art.

1954 Tom Swift with Original Dust Jacket

Around the end of the 19th century Book Jackets were being used to protect the book bindings and wrapped around the whole book like an envelope. Void of color or decoration they were usually discarded after purchase of the book. It is rare to find this type of Book Jacket. The book jacket with the flaps became common by the late 1800’s, but still with out color or images. Later it was not uncommon to have advertisements printed on the dust covers. The 1920’s found the business of book printing and publishing under economical stress. Being cheaper to print on the Dust Jacket rather than the book binding, the colorful Book Jacket was used to intice book buying with artistic imagery.

1933 Circus Dan with Original Dust Jacket in Archival Cover to Protect from Further Deteriorating

From tasteful, colorful imagery to draw you attention, Some publishers and artist began to push the envelope. The public was introduced to the Romance Novel Book Jackets both marvelously sexist and politically incorrect by todays standards. And my favorites, the Noir Detective Era are also fun to find and collect.

Romance Novel circa 1950’s
Detective Novel Circa 1950’s