Vintage YA - Does this look like a book cover image? What book?

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Vintage YA - Does this look like a book cover image? What book?

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 22, 5:02 pm

Hi folks! I picked up this heavy wood block with metal printing plate at an antique store last December. It measures about 7 inches high by 4.25 inches wide, and I can't help feeling based on the size and the illustration style that it might have been for the cover of a vintage young adult mass market paperback book, such as Scholastic used to publish. On the other hand, most cover images have more empty space for the book's title and author text. On the other other hand, I almost feel like I've seen this image somewhere myself -- I have a large collection of vintage YA books! But I can't place it.

Super long-shot, and I've also posted in various Facebook groups dedicated to such books, but I thought I'd try my luck here too.

This first image is the block itself, and the second image is simply a negative reverse image because it makes the illustration a little easier to see. I haven't tried inking the block yet but will eventually do so.

maaliskuu 22, 5:02 pm

maaliskuu 22, 6:40 pm

No good bets yet (I thought maybe Ellen Emerson White, but haven't found a match), but let me just say this is a fascinating mystery. Bookmarking!

maaliskuu 22, 9:32 pm

>3 beyondthefourthwall:

Thanks! I feel like this would likely pre-date Ellen Emerson White, who I think (?) wrote more in the 1980s-2000s? (I love her "The President's Daughter" books. Well, except for the 4th one!)

The type of vintage young adult books I collect, often called "maltshop books" if the characters are high-school aged, would be more 1950s-1960s, or maybe up to 1965 or so.

maaliskuu 22, 9:39 pm

>4 amysisson: Oh, I see, gotcha - this definitely has a mid-century feel to it! I bet Molly at would be interested in the mystery if there are no helpful suggestions from elsewhere. Fascinated by this find.

maaliskuu 22, 10:21 pm

One of Anne Every' s maltshop books? Maybe one of the Sally and Jane Burnaby books? The picture looks familiar to me.

maaliskuu 22, 11:57 pm

>6 MajorKira:

I was thinking along those lines too! Look at these Anne Emery covers -- it could even be the same artist! And even though I originally said my printer block image doesn't have room for the title and author's name, on the other hand, each of these covers shows a partial image shifted off center.

maaliskuu 22, 11:58 pm

>5 beyondthefourthwall:

Ooh, thanks! I will definitely be checking out that blog!

maaliskuu 23, 1:08 am

I'm not sure of this at all, but I *think* the artist may be Harry Bennett. I have a couple of vintage young adult books published by Berkley Highland. They don't credit the cover artist, but I was able to squint really hard and make out the name on a couple of covers, and have since confirmed online that there was a Harry Bennett doing covers for them. But I haven't located the image on my printer block yet.

This is so much fun! I feel like a literary detective!

maaliskuu 23, 5:38 am

I haven't a clue but does seem 1950s or so. What is the building behind? In Washington?

maaliskuu 23, 8:22 am

>10 bookel:

Hmm, it could be from DC but I had been assuming a college building, or a fancy high school building.

maaliskuu 23, 1:18 pm

Not sure if this will work, but here is a Facebook post (set to "public") detailing my thoughts and findings so far:

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 23, 1:22 pm

>10 bookel: I thought that at first, too, and looked at a bunch of images of Washington D.C. buildings. But now I'm thinking it looks more like an ornate house or at least something not in D.C., with trees right next to it. Or maybe they're fireworks? Though the round thing looks like one person is carrying a pumpkin?

maaliskuu 23, 2:15 pm

D.C. is probably why I thought Ellen Emerson White, haha!

maaliskuu 23, 2:20 pm

>13 vorkosigan:

One of my Facebook friends suggested it might be an advertising image, which makes some sense -- the two young women's figures are cut off at the waist, suggesting an emphasis on the blouses. The round area could be where store or price information went.

maaliskuu 23, 2:45 pm

I did wonder about those carefully rendered blouses. If it weren't for the detailed background, it could almost be a vintage sewing pattern.

maaliskuu 23, 3:29 pm

Off-topic, but if I could pick a YA book to put this on the cover of, Francine Pascal's Hangin' Out with Cici would be tempting.

maaliskuu 23, 4:16 pm

>15 amysisson: Is the woman in the back holding a phone?

I just noticed that the round thing has depth - would it be raised, after the printing plate was lifted?

This is an excellent mystery, amysisson!

maaliskuu 23, 4:43 pm

>17 beyondthefourthwall: LOL! I read that book long ago!

>18 vorkosigan: I can't tell if she's holding a phone. Definite possibility!

I don't know enough about printing to know whether the circle would be raised.

LT member Keeline has provided some background on my FB post, and kindly manipulated the image such that it shows a bit more detail. He recommended finding someone who can run a print from it -- he said that stamping ink doesn't work as well with this kind of plate.

maaliskuu 23, 4:44 pm

>16 beyondthefourthwall: - Agreed, it could be for sewing patterns!

maaliskuu 23, 5:30 pm

I checked their catalog and this isn't a match, but you might be interested in this maltshop reprint label:

maaliskuu 23, 5:51 pm

>19 amysisson: It's too early for a portable phone, I guess -- maybe a transistor radio. The new image helps!

maaliskuu 23, 8:21 pm

>21 saskia17: Thank you!

maaliskuu 24, 6:56 am

The girl's hairstyles make me think 60s to early 70s. The upper girl might be holding a telephone/radio headset. Hope this helps.

maaliskuu 24, 2:06 pm

Try looking here:

You might find its match!

maaliskuu 25, 11:52 am


The son of artist Harry Bennett, named Tom Bennett, kindly replied to my email. He doesn't believe this is his father's work because the outlines are rougher than his father's normal style.

Also, LT member James Keeline pointed out that the metal composition of my printer block may not be durable enough for book cover printing.

Meanwhile, Facebook friends brought up the possibility of either a sewing pattern envelope, or an advertisement, perhaps in a newspaper. Both seem like great suggestions to me, but I suspect there's little chance I'll be able to track them down for sure -- although James did say that if I can pull a good print off of the block, I might be able to try some image-matching websites.

I've love to get a good print from it and then display the block and the print together!

maaliskuu 25, 11:53 am

>25 Hope_H:

Hi Hope-H! Thanks, I'm having fun making my way through that cover image website. I own a lot of the books shown there!

maaliskuu 25, 3:49 pm

>25 Hope_H: I wanted to add my thanks to Hope H for the link - My family never bought Scholastic books (too many kids for that) but I used to look at the brochures and see if my library had any of the books, and on that website I found a few books that I loved as a kid!

maaliskuu 25, 7:28 pm

Likewise; forgot I had that Scholastic books link on my profile for years.
Ebay used to have a list too but seeing the covers is helpful (though would be nice to see title and author as some covers are hard to read even when clicked on to enlarge). I have or had a lot of them and resent the implication that Scholastic has been ignored. I collected them my entire life. Just get what I am interested in ... don't necessarily keep them all though, only ones I want to ...

I also thought it might be an ad, the metal plate. It seems too detailed for a sewing pattern packet cover as most of those I have seen, even a brief glance of earlier patterns online, have white backgrounds.

maaliskuu 25, 8:03 pm

I initially thought a sewing pattern but I have never seen a pattern with a building and trees in the background. It would distract from the project, honestly.