Tanselle Collection of American Imprints

Tanselle bookplate


The Tanselle Collection of American Imprints brings together the output of more than fifty trade publishing houses operating between 1891 and 1930 in the United States that accepted innovative or socially progressive work, i.e. avant-garde, not welcomed by major, well-established firms. Representative authors include Sherwood Anderson, Theodore Dreiser, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Eugene O’Neill, and John Reed, as well as the first American publications of European authors such as James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, and E.M. Forster. The main collection consists of 7,750 items, both first editions and later printings, organized to illustrate the development of trends in printing and publishing styles. To further demonstrate changing styles in bookmaking over the years, an additional 4,000 items from other American publishers, dating from the eighteenth century through the end of the twentieth, are included in the collection, as well as 250 items that serve as examples of salesmen’s samples, and a collection of early dust jackets and slipcases.


The general cataloging policies for post-1800 monographs are followed. Each printing will have a separate bibliographic record. The month of printing, when known, will be included in the date of manufacture data. If any title duplicates a copy already held at Beinecke, a comparison will be done and differences will be noted. The existing catalog record will be brought up to current standards with appropriate local notes and provenance information. This collection has been approved to shelve in secure offsite storage.


The size boundaries are:

up to 25 cm high
up to 23 cm wide
between 25 and 37 cm high
over 23 and up to 31 cm wide
over 37 cm high
over 31 cm wide


The following guidelines are used when marking volumes for the Tanselle Collection.

  1. Mark on Yale bookplate when there is one, generally in the lower left corner. The bookplate contains the printed words, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, so mark only Tanselle and the number. Write along the bottom of the bookplate on one line, separating call number elements with periods (eg. Tanselle.B53.0049)
  2. Mark on verso of last page, lower right hand corner, when there is no Yale bookplate. The lower left hand corner is the alternate location when the lower right hand corner is unusable.
  3. If the last page is unmarkable (e.g. too dark or shiny or filled with text or illustrations), mark the verso of the first usable page from the end.


NOTE: Do not mark call number on original wrappers.


Class as a name collection cuttered by publisher, or miscellaneous category, followed by sequential numbering. In order for the results of a call number search to display in order, each number will contain four digits, with initial zeros used as place holders (e.g. 0007). There will be individual sequential numbering sequences for each cutter, regardless of size. Serials will be classed as monographs, with serial enumeration.

Publishers Collected in Depth

Alderbrink Press A35 Kennerley K35
Arens A65 Huebsch H81
Badger B15 Knopf K66
Blue Sky Press B41 Lamson Wolffe L23
Bohemian Club B45 Lane L25
Boni B51 Lieber & Lewis L51
Boni & Liveright B53 Little Review L55
Bowen-Merrill B61 Luce L89
Brown B78 Masses M29
Bruno B83 Modern Library  M63
Chicago Little Theater C35 Mother Earth M66
Chicago Stage Guild C39 Philosopher Press P45
Copeland & Day C61 Robertson R66
Covici C65 Russell R85
Doxey D55 Seltzer S31
Elder E35 Shay S37
Four Seas F65 Small Maynard S55
Gomme G65 Stone & Kimball S77
(Little Blue Books)
H13 Sunwise Turn S81
Harcourt Brace H18 Vanguard Press V25
Harris H23 Way & Williams W25
Hillacre Press H35 Whitaker & Ray W45
Horace Liveright B53    

Examples of American Imprints Not Collected in Depth

Z20 Before 1831  
Z22 1831-90 Hardcover Books
Z23 1870-1910 Hardcover Series
Z24 1870-1910 Paperback Series
Z26 1870-1935 Salesmen’s Samples
Z28 Before 1901 Books in Jackets
Z30 1891-1930 New York City
Z32 1891-1930 East Coast (except New York City)
Z34 1891-1930 Midwest
Z36 1891-1930 West Coast
Z38 1891-1930 Little Magazines (and books published by them)
Z40 After 1930 Hardcover Books
Z41 After 1930 Hardcover Reprint Series
Z42 After 1930 Mass-Market Paperbacks
Z44 After 1930 Trade Paperbacks
Z46 After 1930 Periodicals
Z47 After 1930 Anthologies
Z48   20th-Century Jackets (jackets only, without books)
Z50   Publishers’ Ephemera (19th-20th centuries)

Related Material

Z70 British, Canadian, and Continental European Printings (mostly in English) of American literature
Z72 Royall Tyler
Z74 Floyd Dell and his circle
Z75 Upton Sinclair
Z76 William Ellery Leonard
Z78 Harry Hayden Clark (and Clark provenance)
Z80 Eunice Tietjens provenance
Z82 St. John Ervine provenance
Z84 Lillian Hellman provenance
Z86 Richard Poirier (and Poirier provenance)
Z88 Technocracy
Z90 Miscellaneous Books and Manuscripts



Items are arranged chronologically by publication date of 1st printing, then alphabetically by author’s surname. Any subsequent printings of a title available at the commencement of the cataloging project will follow the 1st printing, regardless of the year of publication. All printings collected after the start of the cataloging will be added to the end of the sequence.

Examples (Note: call numbers below are approximated, as these have not been cataloged yet)

1926 Boni & Liveright Newman, Frances Hard boiled virgin 1st B53 0605
1926 Boni & Liveright     2nd B53 0606
1926 Boni & Liveright     3rd B53 0607
1926 Boni & Liveright     4th B53 0608
1926 Boni & Liveright     5th B53 0609
1926 Boni & Liveright     6th B53 0610
1926 Boni & Liveright     7th B53 0611
1926 Boni & Liveright     8th B53 0612
1926 Boni & Liveright Paris, John Bonzai! 1st B53 0613
1926 Boni & Liveright     2nd B53 0614
1926 Boni & Liveright Parker, Cornelia Stratton More ports 1st B53 0615
1926 Boni & Liveright Parker, Dorothy Enough rope 1st B53 0616
1926 Boni & Liveright     2nd B53 0617
1926 Boni & Liveright     3rd B53 0618
1926 Boni & Liveright     4th B53 0619
1926 Boni & Liveright     5th B53 0620
1926 Boni & Liveright     6th B53 0621
1926 Boni & Liveright     7th B53 0622
1926 Boni & Liveright     8th B53 0623
1926 Boni & Liveright     9th B53 0624
1926 Boni & Liveright     10th B53 0625
1926 Boni & Liveright     11th B53 0626
1926 Boni & Liveright     12th B53 0627
1926 Boni & Liveright     13th B53 0628
1926 Boni & Liveright     14th B53 0629
1926 Boni & Liveright     16th B53 0630
1926 Boni & Liveright     17th B53 0631
1926 Boni & Liveright     21st B53 0632
1926 Boni & Liveright     22nd B53 0633
1926 Boni & Liveright     24th B53 0634

Miscellaneous categories

The books are organized into large chronological units, with some units divided into subunits. Within each unit or subunit (each with its own Cutter number), the books are arranged alphabetically by publisher; whenever a publisher is represented by more than one book, the arrangement is chronological under the publisher, then alphabetical by author within a given year (the same arrangement as that used for the in-depth collections, A35 - W45).

MFHD examples

Octavo ‡b beinycal ‡h Tanselle A35 ‡i 0023
Quarto ‡b beinycal ‡h Tanselle A35 ‡i 0024+ ‡m Quarto
Folio ‡b beinycal ‡h Tanselle A35 ‡i 0025 ‡m Folio



  • Record printing statements.
  • Note the presence and location of advertising matter.


  • Note the presence of dust jackets, bookseller’s labels, provenance, etc., in accordance with standard practices for monograph cataloging
  • If there is no evidence of ownership, no note or tracing will be made for Tanselle provenance.


Cite the following whenever appropriate:

Blanck, Jacob. Bibliography of American Literature. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955-1991.


Wright, Lyle Henry. American fiction 1876-1900. San Marino: Huntington Library, 1966.

CITE AS: Wright, L.H. Amer. fiction, 1876-1900

Andes, George M. A descriptive bibliography of the Modern library, 1917-1970. Boston: Boston Book Annex, 1989.

CITE AS: Andes, G.M. Modern library

Hoffman, Frederick John. The little magazine. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947.

CITE AS: Hoffman, F.J. Little magazine (2nd ed.)

Lyles, William H. Dell paperbacks, 1942 to mid-1962. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1983.

CITE AS: Lyles, W.H. Dell paperbacks, 1942 to mid-1962

Reginald, R. Cumulative paperback index, 1939-1959. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1973.

CITE AS: Reginald, R. Cumulative paperback index, 1939-1959

Additionally, cite author’s and/or other publisher’s bibiliographies when available and appropriate.

Subject, genre, and added tracings

  • Make added entries for publishers, printers, editors, translators, illustrators, dust jacket designers, and other significant contributors. Use relator terms.
  • Make appropriate notes and local tracings for provenance.