Fascinating 1920s and 1930s Book Jackets From the NY Public Library


The New York Public Library has opened up a massive digital archive for public use and perusal. Among thousands of images, some of our favorite finds are from the book jacket collection, which begins with the 1920s and 1930s.

Not only can you unearth awesome-looking designs and typography in these archives, but the inside and back-cover blurbs are totally precious, full of dated language and praise for the “fine” writers readers will encounter (as well as a few unfortunate uses of ethnic descriptors). They’ve got plenty of insight to offer into how promotional copy and graphic design were used back in the day. And the topics, from the rise of Israel to the allure of perfume, from kids’ books to Hollywood tell-all guides to politics for ladies and books we still consider classics, are a great mix of eternal and temporal.

Enjoy our favorites below.

The Mystery and Lure of Perfume, 1927

The Intelligent Woman’s guide to Socialism and Capitalism, 1928.

“That’s New York!” 1926

The Book of Poe, 1929

The Future of Israel, 1926

Emerson and Others, 1927

A New Approach To American History, 1931

A Farewell to Arms, 1930

Architecture and Modern Life, 1937

Jean Harlow: Hollywood Comet, 1937