Bobbsey Twins Formats

The Bobbsey Twins is probably the series with the longest run of publication. Nearly a century old, it was mainly produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, a company founded by Edward Stratemeyer (1863-1930) in 1905 to develop series books and offer them to publishers.

The first Bobbsey Twins title, The Bobbsey Twins; or, Merry Days Indoors and Out, was written by Edward Stratemeyer and published by Mershon in 1904. This book was considerably smaller than the familiar formats of later editions and was a poor seller.

It was possibly reprinted by the Stitt company in 1905 but positive evidence on this is lacking. The Stitt company was formed when William L. Mershon decided that he wanted to focus on the printing side of the business as compared to the publishing side. One of his salesmen, William Stitt, Jr., decided to establish a separate company which would publish the Mershon titles under its imprint. Several of the books owned by Edward Stratemeyer were published initially or reprinted by Stitt, including his Rover Boys volumes under his "Arthur M. Winfield" personal pseudonym. The Stitt company failed after less than a year and many of its titles were published once again under the Mershon imprint. Among Rover Boys collectors, there is a phrase "Mershon after Stitt" to identify printings which have Stitt characteristics but were published by Mershon.

At the end of 1906, a new publishing firm emerged with some connections to Mershon and Stitt. It was called Chatterton-Peck and it engaged in an ambitious campaign to publish a large number of new titles from Stratemeyer along with reprints of the former Mershon and Stitt titles. They signed contracts with Stratemeyer to publish 19 titles in 1907. However, the firm only published 13 of these and sold very few copies of them. At least two Bobbsey Twins titles were published by Chatterton-Peck, including the original book, first published in 1904. The format is very similar to the Mershon format. Volumes 2 and 3 in the series were written by Lilian C. Garis (1873-1954) but it is uncertain if volume 3 was actually published by Chatterton-Peck.

Stratemeyer was furious at the poor showing by Chatterton-Peck and forbade them to publish any more of his books. There is some evidence to suggest that some Rover Boys volumes were printed with counterfeit cover dies according to letters on file in the Stratemeyer Syndicate Records Collection at New York Public Library. Stratemeyer made arrangements to have his lines published by a relatively new firm, Grosset & Dunlap. In an ironic twist, it was William L. Mershon who told Stratemeyer that Grosset & Dunlap was looking for new books to publish. They had previously been involved in reprinting books from other firms.

Naturally, Chatterton-Peck was upset that Stratemeyer would pull his books and offer them to another publisher and there were a number of lawsuits and counter suits which extended into 1908. A settlement was reached whereby Stratemeyer would obtain the printing plates and he could take his books to any publisher he chose.

Chatterton-Peck immediately announced a group of new series to replace the ones which Stratemeyer pulled. Several of these were similar to the Stratemeyer series. Chatterton-Peck even contacted three of Stratemeyer's writers to induce them to write for the new series. One of these writers, Evelyn Raymond (1843-1910) did continue writing a Dorothy series, almost identical to the Stratemeyer-owned Dorothy Chester series which was written by Raymond on Stratemeyer's outlines. Howard R. Garis (1873-1962) and his wife Lilian C. Garis were also asked to write for the new Chatterton-Peck series and they informed Stratemeyer of the offer and apparently did not write for any of the new series.

When Grosset & Dunlap published the first three volumes in the Bobbsey Twins series in 1908, Stratemeyer had them re-typeset and re-designed to resemble ordinary-sized books. Grosset & Dunlap would continue to publish new Stratemeyer Syndicate volumes through 1979. However, after years of declining sales and lack of promotion, Harriet Stratemeyer Adams (1892-1982), Edward Stratemeyer's eldest daughter, decided to use a new publisher for new titles in the Bobbsey Twins, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift and two other series.

Like Chatterton-Peck some 70 years earlier, Grosset & Dunlap was upset over the loss of these popular series volumes. Even though sales were diminishing, they were still a substantial portion of Grosset & Dunlap's sales. And like Chatterton-Peck, Grosset & Dunlap initiated a lawsuit to try to hold the publishing rights for the series. The judge's decision in the 1980 case affirmed the Stratemeyer Syndicate's right to choose which ever publisher they wanted for their new books. However, because of the prior agreements, Grosset & Dunlap could continue to license the publication of the books they had in print in 1979 which included 58 Hardy Boys, 56 Nancy Drews, and 72 Bobbsey Twins.

With a little more than 70 years of publishing, there were obviously a number of formats used by Grosset & Dunlap for the publication of the Bobbsey Twins. This factor is complicated by the revisions of the stories which began, largely, in 1950. The purpose of this page is to illustrate the major formats of the authorized and pirated editions and to attempt to date them. More content will be added as new discoveries are made by myself or from readers' contributions. Please e-mail me if you have copies which are not illustrated yet. If I do not have them, I may want to get a scan and description from you.

James D. Keeline


Grosset & Dunlap Formats:

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #1 (1908)

Distinguishing Characteristic: In this format, the word "Hope" on the spine is in small capital letters near the title.

Cover Stock: The cloth is light green with a fine weave.

Endpapers: Blank

Illustrations: Frontispiece plus three internals tipped in on glossy stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: Rover Boys 1-15 / Putnam Hall 1-5 / Rise in Life (Alger) (9) / Flag of Freedom 1-6 / Frontier 1-3 / Great Newspaper 1-3; Deep Sea 1-3; Railroad 1-3.

Volumes published: 1-3 only.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #2 (~1913)

Distinguishing Characteristic: In this format, the full pseudonym is printed at about the middle of the spine is in small capital letters.

Cover Stock: The cloth is light green with a fine weave.

Endpapers: Blank

Illustrations: Frontispiece plus three internals tipped in on glossy stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: Tom Swift 1-17 / Boys of Columbia High 1-5 / Rise in Life (Alger) (11) / Young Reporter 1-5; Sea Treasure 1-4 / Bobbsey Twins 1-5; Dorothy Chester 1-2.

Volumes published: 1-8.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #3 (~1916)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Very light green cloth. Otherwise the same as Format #2.

Cover Stock: The cloth is light green (much lighter than Format #2) with a fine weave.

Endpapers: Blank

Illustrations: Frontispiece plus three internals tipped in on glossy stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: Every Child Should Know (20) / Girls or Central High 1-6 / Moving Picture Girls 1-7 / Bobbsey Twins 1-8.

Volumes published: 1-12.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #4 (~1925)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Older cover label, coarse green cloth.

Cover Stock: The cloth is green with a coarse-weave.

Endpapers: Blank

Illustrations: Frontispiece plus three internals tipped in on glossy stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: Bobbsey Twins 1-18 / Bunny Brown 1-14 / Six Little Bunkers 1-11 / Honey Bunch 1-6 / Riddle Club 1-4.

Volumes published: 1-18.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #5 (~1927)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Newer cover label (illustrated by Thelma Gooch), coarse green cloth.

Cover Stock: The cloth is green with a coarse-weave.

Endpapers: Blank

Illustrations: Frontispiece plus three internals tipped in on glossy stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: Bobbsey Twins 1-16 / Bunny Brown 1-16 / Six Little Bunkers 1-11 / Honey Bunch 1-8 / Outdoor Girls 1-17.

Volumes published: 1-20.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #6 (1932-1941)

Distinguishing Characteristic: No illustrated cover label, orange endpapers, good paper.

Cover Stock: The cloth is green with a linnen-texture.

Endpapers: Orange

Illustrations: Frontispiece on glossy stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: Bobbsey Twins 1-29 / Mary and Jerry 1-4 / Little Indian (4) / Maida 1-3 / Mary Jane 1-17 / Sunny Boy 1-14.

Volumes published: 1-34.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #7 (1942)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Green cloth, Orange Endpapers, High-acid pulp paper.

Cover Stock: The cloth is green with a linnen-texture.

Endpapers: Orange

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: Bobbsey Twins 1-33 / Honey Bunch 1-22 / Mary Jane 1-19 / blank.

Volumes published: 1-34.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #8 (1943-1945)

Distinguishing Characteristic: High-acid pulp paper; Wartime Conditions notice on copyright page.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is green pressed paper with squiggily lines of depressed dots.

Endpapers: Orange

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: to be added.

Volumes published: 1-38.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #9 (~1946)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Dark-green cover stock, High-acid pulp paper, Orange Endpapers.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is dark green pressed paper with squiggily lines of depressed dots.

Endpapers: Orange

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: to be added.

Volumes published: unknown.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #10 (~1946)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Dark-green cover stock, High-acid pulp paper, Tree Endpapers.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is dark green pressed paper with squiggily lines of depressed dots.

Endpapers: Tree

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: to be added.

Volumes published: unknown.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #11 (~1947)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Green cover stock, High-acid pulp paper, Tree Endpapers.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is green pressed paper (like format #8) with squiggily lines of depressed dots.

Endpapers: Tree

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: to be added.

Volumes published: unknown.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #12 (~1948)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Green cover stock, High-acid pulp paper, Tree Endpapers.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is dark green pressed paper with squiggily lines of depressed dots.

Endpapers: Tree

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: to be added.

Volumes published: unknown.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #13 (~1949)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Green cover stock, Good paper, Slide and Swing Endpapers.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is green pressed paper with squiggily lines of depressed dots.

Endpapers: Slide and Swing

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: to be added.

Volumes published: 1-40.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #14 (1950-1951)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Green cover stock, Good paper, Brown Toy Endpapers.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is green pressed paper with a waffle pattern.

Endpapers: Brown Toy

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: to be added.

Volumes published: 1-44.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #15 (1952-1962*)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Green tweed-like cover stock, Good paper, Brown Toy Endpapers.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is green pressed paper with a tweed-like texture.

Endpapers: Brown Toy

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Post-Text Ads on Copy Shown: to be added.

Volumes published: 1-63.

Note: Most G&D series changed to the pictorial cover format (#16 for this series) in 1962.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #16 (1964-1969)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Purple-spine pictorial cover format with volume number in black below black area on spine symbol.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is nylon cloth with a color picture printed on the cover.

Endpapers: Brown Toy

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: Kite Design listing to #62 (Doodlebug Mystery).

Volumes seen: 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 16, 24, 35, 38, 48, 50, 52 (mainly titles revised before 1963).

Note: Most G&D series changed to the pictorial cover format (#16 for this series) in 1962.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #17 (1964-1969)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Purple-spine pictorial cover format.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is nylon cloth with a color picture printed on the cover.

Endpapers: Black Toy

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: Kite Design listing to #62 (Doodlebug Mystery).

Volumes seen: 3, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 24, 45, 46, 51, 55, 56-62 (mainly titles revised or published after 1962).

Note: The Black Toy endpapers may have been used only on some later titles. More information needed.
Thus, formats 16 and 17 appear to be simultaneous but simply with different endpapers for particular volumes with some overlap when the supply of printed sheets with the Brown Toy endpapers were exhausted.
Volume 59 seen (as pictured) with volume number in white as part of spine logo; all others in black below logo.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #18 (~1971)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Purple-spine pictorial cover format with volume number in black below black area on spine symbol. No white area behind title.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is nylon cloth with a color picture printed on the cover.

Endpapers: Black Toy

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: Flower Frame listing to #64 (Red, White and Blue Mystery).

Volumes published: 5 (only volume seen thus).

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #19 (1970-1978)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Purple-spine pictorial cover format with volume number in black below black area on spine symbol.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is nylon cloth with a color picture printed on the cover.

Endpapers: Black Toy

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: Flower Frame listing to #71 (TV Mystery Show).

Volumes published: 1-20, 24, 25, 27, 47-71.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #20 (~1980)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Purple-spine pictorial cover format with volume number in black below black area on spine symbol. Copyright page mentions copyright assigned to Stratemeyer Syndicate.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is nylon cloth with a color picture printed on the cover.

Endpapers: Tea Party

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: Flower Frame listing to #71 (TV Mystery Show) or to #72 (Coral Turtle) which generally have a barcode..

Volumes published: 1-20, 24, 25, 27, 47-72.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Format #21 (1989)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Glossy red binding, revised and abridged by Nancy S. Axelrad (a former Stratemeyer Syndicate employee).

Cover Stock: The cover stock is a glossy printed paper over boards.

Endpapers: blank

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: Glossy Red with a barcode.

Volumes published: 1-8.

 

Grosset & Dunlap Library Binding (~1965?)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Red-spine pictorial cover with heavy nylon cloth, stab stitching, and no list of titles on back cover.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is nylon cloth with a color picture printed on the cover.

Endpapers: Toy

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: Library.

Volumes published: 1-25?

 

Grosset & Dunlap Dust Jacket Formats:

 

Grosset & Dunlap DJ #3 (~1930s)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Paper Doll on back cover.

Ads on copy shown:

Volumes published: 1-__?

 

Grosset & Dunlap DJ #4 (~1940s-1962)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Boy and girl with dog.

Ads on copy shown: Bobbsey Twins 1-46 (front flap); Famous Burgess Books (20) (back cover); Maida Books 1-16 (rear flap).

Volumes published: 1-48

Note: Many volumes retained this dust jacket style until the change in format to the purple-spine pictorial cover (Format 16) in 1963. Some volumes were redesigned into DJ format #5 with a wraparound-style picture.

 

Grosset & Dunlap DJ #5 (1956-1962)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Front cover illustration wraps around to spine, different for each book.

Ads on copy shown: Bobbsey Twins summary for this volume (front flap); Honey Bunch & Norman (1-8) (back cover); Bobbsey Twins 1-48 (rear flap).

Volumes seen: 1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 25, 35, 45, 47-55 (more information needed here).

Note: Many volumes retained DJ format #4 until the change in format to the purple-spine pictorial cover (Format 16) in 1963. Only part of the series was redesigned into this style of dust jacket before the format change.

 

Wanderer Formats:

 

Wanderer Hardcover (1980-1983)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Hardcover with dust jacket.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is one of several colors of cloth.

Endpapers: blank

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: none.

Volumes published: 1-9?

 

Wanderer Paperback (1980-1986)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Paperback.

Cover Stock: Paper

Endpapers: blank

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: none.

Volumes published: 1-14

 

Other Authorized Formats:

 

Whitman Format #1 (1940)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Small picturebook with color label.

Cover Stock: The cloth is light green.

Endpapers: Blank.

Illustrations: Black and white illustrations by Henry E. Vallely.

Notes: Abridged story in 8 chapters and 94 pages, adapted by Bennett Kline.

 

Whitman Format #2 (1950)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Hardcover with dust jacket.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is one of several colors of cloth.

Endpapers: illustrated with line drawings consistent with plot.

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: none.

Volumes published: 1-3

 

 

Whitman Format #3 (1953)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Hardcover with cellophane coating.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is color-printed paper with cellophane coating over boards.

Endpapers: illustrated with line drawings consistent with plot.

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: none.

Volumes published: 1-3

 

Whitman Format #4 (~1960)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Pictorial cover.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is one of several colors of cloth.

Endpapers: Rings

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: none.

Volumes published: 1-3

 

Unauthorized Formats (?):

 

Goldsmith (~1940)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Hardcover with DJ.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is pressed paper.

Endpapers: blank.

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on back cover: Bobbsey Twins series 1-3.

Volumes published: 1-3

 

Saalfield (1940)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Hardcover with DJ.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is pressed paper.

Endpapers: blank.

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock by Martha E. Miller.

Ads on back cover: "Fiction for Boys": West Point series 1-3, Annapolis series 1-3, Battleship Boys series 1-3; "Fiction for Girls": Thrilling Adventure series (3), Bobbsey Twins series 1-3, Four Little Blossoms series 1-3.

Volumes published: 1-3

 

Foriegn Formats:

 

England: World Distributors (1965)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Hardcover with DJ.

Cover Stock: The cover stock is coarse cloth.

Endpapers: blank.

Illustrations: Frontispiece on plain paper stock.

Ads on DJ shown: Bobbsey Twins series 1-20, 41-44.

Volumes published: 1-20, 41-44.

 

Norway: Forlagshuset A/S (1960)

Distinguishing Characteristic: Glossy printed paper over boards.

Cover Stock: Glossy printed paper over boards.

Endpapers: blank.

Illustrations: Cover illustration only by Sten Nilsen.

Ads on DJ shown: Bobbsey Twins series (21).

Volumes published: ??.

 


Copyright 1999, 2000 by James D. Keeline. Updated 13 Jul 2000.