A Deeper Study of Series Two

Series One #1 Over Prairie Trails

Series One #1 Over Prairie Trails

With Series One it is easy to know the complete list of titles. Once we know where the list ends we know the number of titles and can search for them until the library is complete. Just to remind everyone there are sixty-eight titles in the main series, five in the “O” series and four in the “W” series.

Now when we put Series One behind us and concentrate on Series Two, things become much more complicated. Series Two expands the library up to number 152 in the main series, up to twelve in the “O” series and seventeen in the “W” series.

But the expansion isn’t the complication. If we just take the main series as our concentration to make an explanation easier, the complication is that when M&S started publishing Series Two they did not leave the titles from Series One behind. They put out many of those books as well with Series Two covers.

Series Two #69 Last Leaves

Series Two #69 Last Leaves

We know with as much certainty as possible that numbers 69 to 152 exist as they are the ones first published in Series Two. But since we find titles from the first 68 books in the library in Series Two covers we must assume that there might be a Series Two cover for every book in Series One.

Since M&S is a business it is not to difficult to guess that perhaps some of the worse-selling titles from Series One were not reproduced for Series Two. Or perhaps their warehouse were still filled with certain titles in Series One waiting to be sent to retail outlets when Series Three started to be published and therefore Series Two covers were skipped. Whatever the reasons, we can’t be one-hundred per cent sure that there exists a Series Two book for the numbers 1-68.

After looking for all the books in Series Two in book stores, thrift shops and online sellers for the past two years, I have found a cover for every title from the numbers 1-68 except for the following:

NCL 30 – Each Man’s Son by Hugh MacLennan
NCL 32 – White Narcissus by Raymond Knister
NCL 36 – Grain by Robert J. C. Stead
NCL 47 – Remember Me by Edward Meade
NCL 55 – Tiger Dunlop’s Upper Canada by William Dunlop
NCL 63 – The Harbor Master by Theodore Goodridge Roberts

Laurentian Library #11 Each Man's Son

Laurentian Library #11 Each Man’s Son

As you can see all the missing titles except for Each Man’s Son are books of a more obscure nature in the library and it is not to difficult to think that perhaps M&S dropped these titles when issuing the Series Two books.

As for Each Man’s Son, the explanation could be that M&S lost the rights to publish the book from Hugh MacLennan (he holds the copyright). This makes sense when we look at the book’s publishing history in paperback. It was published first in the NCL in the mid-sixties, but in the early 70s, we see it appear on Macmillan’s roster of paperbacks (Laurentian Library #11), and then in the late 80s under their Macmillan Paperbacks series (#33).

Macmillan Paperbacks #33 Each Man's Son

Macmillan Paperbacks #33 Each Man’s Son

We see it return to the NCL when Series Five is published. This most likely means that MacLennan, after the Series One books were issued returned the publishing rights to Macmillan, the publisher who published the original edition in hard cover, for distribution in the 70s and 80s. When the Macmillan Paperbacks series ran their course, M&S got the rights back and returned the book to the NCL catalogue.

The other five titles have less history. If we take them individually they play out as follows:

NCL 32 – White Narcissus by Raymond Knister

After Series One, White Narcissus disappears from all my searches until Series Four.

NCL 36 – Grain by Robert J. C. Stead

After Series One, Grain disappears from all my searches until Series Three.

NCL 47 – Remember Me by Edward Meade

After Series One, Remember Me disappears from all my searches and does not appear in the NCL again.

NCL 55 – Tiger Dunlop’s Upper Canada by William Dunlop

After Series One, Tiger Dunlop’s Upper Canada disappears from all my searches until Series Three.

NCL 63 – The Harbor Master by Theodore Goodridge Roberts

After Series One, The Harbour Master disappears from all my searches and doesn’t appear in the NCL again.

McClelland & Stewart logo

McClelland & Stewart logo

Now using a bit of logic we must assume that when M&S publishes a title they would continue to publish it until they don’t. And once they don’t they stop forever. In other words, a publisher doesn’t publish a book, stop publishing it, and then publish it again. With rare exceptions this is usually the case. The reason for this is that as long as the book sells they will continue to publish it, once it stops selling they stop issuing it. No publisher who wants to stay in business will continue to publish a book that doesn’t sell, or stop then start to publish it again when they know it won’t sell.

NCL Series Three Logo

NCL Series Three Logo

If we take this piece of logic, and use it properly we can have a good idea when each of the titles in the NCL stops being issued. It will also tell us that when we find a book in a later series but not in a previous one, we can guess that the book exists and we just haven’t found it yet.

With that in mind, Remember Me and The Harbour Master seem most likely to be dropped after Series One.

The other four should be available in Series Two as they exist is either Series Three or Series Four that I have found.

I ask all the readers of this blog whether they have copies of any of these books in Series Two. It will help me complete The Book Covers Project for Series Two. If you do leave a comment below and I will contact you.

I also am missing the following covers that I know exist:

NCL 72 – The Curé of St. Philippe by Francis William Grey
NCL 79 – The Incomparable Atuk by Mordecai Richler
NCL 89 – Antoinette de Mirecourt by Rosanna Leprohon
NCL 120 – Windflower by Gabrielle Roy
NCL 135 – Bogle Corbet by John Galt
NCL 140 – The Atonement of Ashley Morden by Fred Bodsworth
NCL 142 – Scann by Robert Harlow
NCL 147 – High Bright Buggy Wheels by Luella Creighton
NCL 151 – The Outlander by Germaine Guèvremont

Any help would be appreciated.

The Ignorant Intellectual.

4 thoughts on “A Deeper Study of Series Two

  1. I have copies of Grain and White Narcissus in Series Two (#32 and #36). Do you have scans of the covers yet? Nice to see another OC in Canadian Literature.

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