Easton Press- Masterpieces of American Literature

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Easton Press- Masterpieces of American Literature

joulukuu 18, 2015, 12:42 pm

Hello, I am an avid collector of Easton and Franklin. Has anyone ever seen a definitive list of this discontinued and rarely mentioned series? This is what I have complied, 65 books mentioned but only 58 confirmed with the emblem denoting the Masterpieces of American Literature Collection. Books listed with italics are unconfirmed. The other mystery is what year did this series use marbled end pages?

1 American Literature A Fable Faulkner, William 1954 ********
2 American Literature A Week on the Concord & Merrimack Rivers Thoreau, Henry David 1849
3 American Literature American Indian Legends Macfarlan, Alan
4 American Literature An American Tragedy Dreiser, Theodore 1925
5 American Literature Ben-Hur Wallace, Lew 1880
6 American Literature Billy Budd and Benito Cereno Melville, Herman 1892
7 American Literature Cape Cod Thoreau, Henry David 1865
8 American Literature Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe Poe, Edgar Allan
9 American Literature Concord Hymn (and other selected poems) Emerson, Ralph Waldo 1837
10 American Literature Daisy Miller James, Henry 1879
11 American Literature Diedrich Knickerbocker's History of New York Irving, Washington
12 American Literature For Whom the Bell Tolls Hemingway, Ernest 1940 ********
13 American Literature From Here to Eternity Jones, James 1951 ********
14 American Literature Gone with the Wind - Volume 1 Mitchell, Margaret 1936 ********
15 American Literature Gone with the Wind - Volume 2 Mitchell, Margaret 1936
16 American Literature House of Mirth Wharton, Edith 1905
17 American Literature Innocents Abroad Twain, Mark 1869
18 American Literature Lewis and Clark: Jounals of the Expedition (2V) ********
19 American Literature Life on the Mississippi Twain, Mark 1883
20 American Literature Literary Writings Abraham Lincoln Lincoln, Abraham
21 American Literature Little Men Alcott, Louisa May 1871 ********
22 American Literature Looking Backward 2000-1887 Bellamy, Edward 1888
23 American Literature Maggie: A Girl of the Streets Crane, Stephan 1893
24 American Literature Man Without a Country Hale, Edward Everett 1863
25 American Literature Monsieur Beaucaire Tarkington, Booth 1900
26 American Literature Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym Poe, Edgar Allan 1838
27 American Literature Old Creole Days Cable, George Washington 1879
28 American Literature Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas Melville, Herman 1847
29 American Literature Poems of Emily Dickinson Dickinson, Emily
30 American Literature Poems of Longfellow Longfellow, Henry W.
31 American Literature Poems of Whittier Whittier, John Greenleaf 1874
32 American Literature Poems of William Cullen Bryant Bryant, William Cullen
33 American Literature Poor Richard's Almanac Franklin, Benjamin 1732
34 American Literature Pudd'nhead Wilson Twain, Mark 1894
35 American Literature Rip Van Winkle and other Stories Irving, Washington 1819
36 American Literature Sister Carrie Dreiser, Theodore 1900
37 American Literature Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon Irving, Washington 1819
38 American Literature Tales of Soldiers and Civilians Bierce, Ambrose 1891
39 American Literature Tales of the Gold Rush Harte, Bret
40 American Literature The Ambassadors James, Henry 1903 ********
41 American Literature The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table Holmes, Oliver W. 1858
42 American Literature The Bridge of San Luis Rey Wilder, Thornton 1927 ********
43 American Literature The Bridges at Toko-Ri Michener, James 1953 ********
44 American Literature The Call of the Wild London, Jack 1903
45 American Literature The Deerslayer Cooper, James Fenimore 1841
46 American Literature The House of the Seven Gables Hawthorne, Nathaniel 1851
47 American Literature The Jungle Sinclair, Upton 1906
48 American Literature The Notorious Jumping Frog Twain, Mark 1865
49 American Literature The Oregon Trail Parkman, Francis 1849
50 American Literature The Pathfinder Cooper, James Fenimore 1840
51 American Literature The Prairie Cooper, James Fenimore 1827
52 American Literature The Spy Cooper, James Fenimore 1821
53 American Literature The Stories of O. Henry Henry, O 1904
54 American Literature Turn of the Screw James, Henry 1898
55 American Literature Twice Told Tales Hawthorne, Nathaniel 1837
56 American Literature Two Years Before the Mast Dana, Richard Henry 1840
57 American Literature Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life Melville, Herman 1846
58 American Literature Uncle Remus Harris, Chandler 1881
59 American Literature Up from Slavery Washington, Booker T. 1901
60 American Literature Virginian Wister, Owen 1902
61 American Literature Washington Square James, Henry 1880
62 American Literature White Fang London, Jack 1906
63 American Literature Wonderful Adventures of Paul Bunyon Untermeyer, Louis 1946
64 American Literature Writings of Thomas Jefferson Jefferson, Thomas

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 18, 2015, 9:44 pm

I have exactly 1 of these books (Sister Carrie). I do not know the history of this series, but would also be interested in finding out as well.

There seems to be some overlap with both Great Books of the 20th Century and 100 Greatest books, so perhaps that is why it is less known. Perhaps it was less subscribed to. But this is pure speculation.

joulukuu 19, 2015, 9:23 am

Amazing, I thought I knew them all. This is new to me. I subscribed to the 100 Franklin masterpieces of American literature in commemoration of the Bicentennial.

joulukuu 24, 2015, 5:46 pm

>3 HugoDumas:

Ahh, I recall the bi-centennial. That was a fun year. The fire hydrants in my town were painted red, white, and blue.

tammikuu 2, 2018, 4:14 pm

While scratching around on the EP site, this item is back:


Back to scratching.

tammikuu 2, 2018, 4:45 pm

I’ve always said if they did a better job advertising exactly all the books they have (translation: so we didn’t have to search with a blood hound for them) their profits would greatly increase!

Over the years I have paid a reseller more than the EP price on two different books, to only find out shortly after, that EP was still selling them for less 🤨

Fortunately it wasn’t much. I always call them first now before I buy a book that I “think” is out of print.


tammikuu 2, 2018, 5:44 pm

Failure to inform customers whether a book is:

(a) out of print permanently;
(b) out of stock, will be reprinted soon; or
(c) out of stock, might be reprinted eventually

can cause customers to spend too much on the secondary market while depriving EP of a possible future sale.

tammikuu 2, 2018, 5:54 pm

>7 jroger1:: This seems a simple concept for the suits/bean counters at EP to be able to grasp, yet...

tammikuu 3, 2018, 10:26 am

>5 saintmelville: Thanks for sharing the information on this title! I added this one to my wishlist and plan to get it later.

maaliskuu 24, 2022, 2:13 pm

Has anyone seen an updated list since the original post by jwr0077? I have about 35 of the Masterpieces of American Literature series. I know there is some debate about leather vs. bonded, marbled end papers vs moire etc. All of mine have the Masterpieces logo. However, I have a Two Years Before the Mast that has marbled end pages and states it’s bonded. No others say they’re bonded but I have 5 more titles with marbled end pages. I also have two copies of Cape Cod that have the logo and moire end pages but different bindings. I wonder what the beginning and ending date was for this series.

maaliskuu 26, 2022, 9:01 am

All my EP books are genuine leather. I have never heard of bonded leather used in an EP book

maaliskuu 26, 2022, 11:28 am

>11 sdawson: It’s the only one of mine like that.

maaliskuu 26, 2022, 11:59 am

I put a copy of the title page on my profile.

maaliskuu 26, 2022, 3:54 pm

OK, lets continue the discussion here. I'll see if I can find an American Literature series book on my shelves and see what they say. Thanks for the photo.

maaliskuu 26, 2022, 4:04 pm

>13 CEF48:

While I have *a lot* of EP books, the 'Masterpieces of American Literature' was one series I did not collect. This was because so many of these were available in the Limited Editions Club edition, which I also collect. So no need to overlap. Also the Franklin Library also put out very, very nice leather editions of American literature, which I also collected.

So i only have 1 book marked as part of the Materpieces of American Literature series. It is Sister Carrie by Dreiser. I took out my book and it seems to differ from yours. 1) it has the silk moire endpapers, not paper endpapers and 2) it does *not* state that it is on 'bonded leather'. It appears to match the production values of the other EP sets.

So if other folks have books from this collection with paper endpapers, perhaps they could check to see if they have that 'bonded leather' note as well. I am curious as to why EP would have done this. I am also glad it seems to have been a short lived experiment of sorts.


Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 26, 2022, 8:37 pm

The other titles I have that have marbled end pages are: Looking Backward, Poor Richard’s Almanac, Twice Told Tales, Daisy Miller, Omoo: Adventures in the South Seas, A Week on the Concord & Merrimack Rivers, and House of Mirth. I’m guessing this is one of the oldest EP series, that it did not sell well and was cut short. Perhaps they tried the marbled end pages and bonded leather to prop up sales. My guess is that all the titles I listed above are bonded leather, but I would also bet that there are also copies of the same titles out there with moire end pages. I like this series because of the age and the oddities I encounter.

maaliskuu 26, 2022, 8:50 pm

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 28, 2022, 12:23 am

>17 CEF48:

Could be some of EP's earliest work. Note how the spine doesn't even have the characteristic "E/P" logo. 1969 would be about when (just after) EP bought the rights to Heritage Press' text blocks, too.

maaliskuu 27, 2022, 11:34 pm

>17 CEF48: and >18 treereader:

thanks for sharing . thar ebay listing is pretty clear.

someone here must know the story on these books. perhaps they started this way and quickly changed.

i too like the rarities though, even the ones of lesser quality, they are interesting

maaliskuu 28, 2022, 8:16 am

>18 treereader: I think you are right. I was wondering about the series in there context of the Heritage Press transition.

maaliskuu 28, 2022, 11:00 am

>15 sdawson: It's not from the Masterpieces of American Lit series, but my EP copy of Le Guin's The Dispossessed has paper (not moire) endpapers; however, the title page indicates binding in genuine leather. Published in 1986.

maaliskuu 28, 2022, 1:14 pm

>21 Eumnestes:

I think all of my original (i.e., not recent) Masterpieces of Science Fiction that didn't crossover into anything more mainstream like the 100 Greatest Series had non-marbled paper endpapers. Military History, and one or two others were like that, too, I think.

maaliskuu 28, 2022, 1:15 pm

>21 Eumnestes: That would make sense. I have several Library of the Presidents that have paper end pages but the inserts and title pages say they are genuine leather. I was going through them last night because I’m probably going to sell about 2/3 of them to make some room in my library.

maaliskuu 28, 2022, 5:21 pm

>21 Eumnestes:, >22 treereader:, >23 CEF48:.

Yes I have most of the MOSF collection. They were designed with paper endpapers from the get-go. That plus the genunie (non bonded) leather.

huhtikuu 2, 2022, 9:47 am

What is bonded leather?

huhtikuu 2, 2022, 11:46 am

>25 Neil_Luvs_Books:

It's bits of leather scraps merged together via some form of pressure with chemical agent to make a larger piece of leather. It's still technically leather, just not a premium kind.

kesäkuu 3, 2022, 8:44 pm

I am continuing to try and assemble this set and it gets more interesting. I saw Complete Poems of Poe on eBay with marbled end pages and the bonded leather info inside the Masterpieces of American Literature logo. I have also seen copies of the 2 volume Chesapeake and Bridge of San
Luis Rey with name plates present but no logo on title page. I think this practice also occurred in the 20th Century series as well. I’m not sure anyone else is following this but I thought it was interesting.

kesäkuu 3, 2022, 9:29 pm

>27 CEF48:
EP also published 2-volume editions of Chesapeake, Hawaii, Centennial, The Source, Texas, Alaska, Covenant, and Space that were not part of any series. Each volume has a color frontispiece and several b&w illustrations. These were quite a treat for Michener fans like me.

kesäkuu 3, 2022, 9:41 pm

>28 jroger1: That’s interesting. I have gotten completely sucked in on this old set. The inconsistencies intrigue me. I would also find most of the titles worth reading, and I like the fact that a lot of these books were quite large. Different things for each of us.

huhtikuu 10, 9:56 pm


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