This is the first detailed bibliography of Jerome’s work in the English language. It takes the record up to the year 2000, after which the spate of “publication on demand” versions renders it pointless to continue. We have resisted the temptation to label it “complete” or “comprehensive” because to do so would seem presumptuous. Jerome was so prolific and his periodical articles were published in such a wide variety of journals, that despite our best efforts some will undoubtedly have escaped us. We hope that any reader of our work who is aware of omissions will submit the information to us, supplying a jpg image of the title-page in the case of books.

Information about corrections or omissions may be sent to frankrodgers.antigua@gmail.com

The main section of the work, by far the longest, is a list of the books written by Jerome, arranged in chronological order by their first date of publication; this is followed by a list of anthologies of his work, also arranged chronologically. They are numbered serially, and subsequent editions of each book are numbered sequentially. So, for example, the eight editions that we have identified of his first book, On the Stage – and Off, are numbered 1-1 to 1-8. The fullest coverage is given to the earliest editions, both English and American, later editions being listed more briefly. An image of the title-page and, where appropriate, the front cover is provided for the principal editions of each title. There is an index of titles to enable the reader to locate each title within the sequence.

The arrangement within each of the other sections of the work is also chronological, but without a numbering system.

Some comments on Jerome’s principal publishers may be helpful. Two of his earliest publishers, Field and Tuer (The Leadenhall Press) and J. W. Arrowsmith, were confusing and inconsistent in their use of the terms “edition” and “impression.” From a bibliographer’s point of view, to quote Philip Gaskell’s A New Introduction to Bibliography, (Oxford University Press, 1972), “An edition is all the copies of a book printed at any time or times from substantially the same setting of type, and includes all the various impressions, issues and states which may have derived from that setting.” An impression means all the copies of an edition printed at any one time. Again quoting Gaskell, “An issue is all the copies of that part of an edition which is identifiable as a consciously planned printed unit distinct from the basic form of the ideal copy.” Examples might include an altered title-page, reimposition of the type pages to produce copies in different formats, and impressions on special paper. “The term state is used to cover all other variants from the basic form of the ideal copy.” These could include stop-press corrections, resetting of damaged type, etc.

Field and Tuer, once he realized how well The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow was selling, decided, according to Jerome, to label each 1,000 copies an “edition” on the front cover. Not only were they not editions, but many of them were probably not even new impressions, but rather batches of already printed copies bound up as needed. Once he was assured of the popularity of the book, Tuer may well have printed as many as 5,000 or even 10,000 copies at a time. We have been able to identify a number of different states among the 180 “editions,” which may be indicative of new impressions.

Although the 1909 edition of Arrowsmith’s Three Men in a Boat looks very much like the original edition of 1889 (and even keeps that date on the title-page), the publisher’s advertisement described it as a new edition and commented that the type had been completely reset. Clearly, then, it should have been called the second edition. But in the publishing history given in the “third edition” of 1924, the publisher persists in describing the 1909 edition and its subsequent reprints as being impressions of the first edition. Moreover, although the 1924 “third edition” has a modernized title-page and binding, it is otherwise a reprint of the 1909 edition – as we assume is the “second edition” of 1917, which we have not seen. From 1938, Arrowsmith identified the book with an impression number, the first such being the “92nd impression.” He continued this practice until the “109th impression” of 1948 even though the numbers were applied to copies of three different editions, with different pagination, some illustrated, others not! In 1950, Dent took over the publication, issuing the “110th” to the “116th” impressions between then and 1960 – but at least they were all impressions of the same edition.

Most of Jerome’s plays were published by Samuel French, with offices in both London and New York. Both imprints appear side by side on the title-pages and covers, and the one shown first usually indicates the place of publication. The early one-act plays (1880s) are undated; the later plays generally bear a copyright date on the title-page, but nothing to indicate the date of the impression. There are two ways to identify the approximate publication date of a copy. The first is by identifying the first date of publication of other plays advertised in the volume – in the case of the early one-act plays, which were issued in numbered series, this is usually a numbered list of plays on the back cover; if the numbers go significantly beyond the number assigned to the play itself, it is a later impression. For the later titles, one should check the holdings of the British Library (www.bl.uk) or the Library of Congress (www.loc.gov) for the original publication dates of other works advertised in the volume. Another guideline is the publisher’s address. The London address changes only once. Until 1903, the address is 89 Strand; thereafter it is 26 Southampton Street, Strand. However, the New York address changes much more often. In 1886 it is 38 E. 14th Street. By 1889 it is 28 W. 23rd Street. In 1900 it is 24 W. 22nd Street. About 1910 it changes to 28-30 W. 38th Street; and from about 1920 it is 25 W. 45th Street. The address that appears on the title-page thus indicates the approximate publication date of the impression.

Sixteen of Jerome’s books were published in Leipzig by Bernhard Tauchnitz in his Collection of British Authors. These were copyright editions, issued under an agreement that they would not be introduced into Great Britain or her colonies. Always issued in paper covers, they are also often found in the publisher’s red cloth binding or privately bound. Tauchnitz editions are very consistent in style. We have provided illustrations of the title-page and cover of The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, which are typical of the whole series. (On the paper covers, the bookseller information and the wording of the warning against introducing the volumes into the British Empire may vary, depending on the date of the impression). Most of the titles were frequently reprinted, but no matter what the date of the impression, the original publication date normally remains in the imprint on the title-page. If the copy is in paper covers, the back cover contains a dated list of the latest Tauchnitz titles, which effectively dates the impression. Also, many Tauchnitz editions have a dated catalogue of other Tauchnitz publications inserted at the end. Lacking these indicators, facing the title-page is a list of other Jerome titles published by Tauchnitz. These are always given in chronological order, so the last title listed is a guide to the approximate publication date of the copy.

Finally, some comments are needed about the pirated American editions of Jerome’s early works, of which this is the first listing ever attempted. Until the passing of the Copyright Act of 1891, the works of foreign authors enjoyed no protection in the United States. Almost all of Jerome’s early work was pirated, up to Diary of a Pilgrimage, with The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow and Three Men in a Boat being the most frequent victims. The protection given by the 1891 Copyright Act had strict requirements: in order to receive protection, the book must be printed in the United States and two copies of it delivered to the Library of Congress. Jerome’s authorized publisher (at this date Henry Holt), was able to comply with these conditions, and this effectively put an end to the piracy. However, the Act did not provide retrospective protection of earlier works, and pirated editions of them continued to appear well into the 1920s. Jerome claimed that over a million copies of Three Men in a Boat were published in America. Since no statistics exist, there is no way to validate this statement. But it is certainly possible, since by 1909 his original publisher, Arrowsmith, had published 207,000 copies of the book in England.

Although the majority of the pirated editions are undated, the period from 1890 to 1900 was the peak period for this activity. Many of the publishers issued editions at a variety of prices in both paper covers and cloth or even leather bindings, and with varying quality of paper. We have seen very few of the paperback editions, and those we have been able to examine have all been in fragile condition. Being invariably printed on poor paper, most of these paperbacks have long since disintegrated. Even some of the bound editions could be located only in a single library in the United States, and a few could not be found at all…

There are numerous examples of different American publishers using the same printing plates. Information on the connections between some of these firms is available, but for many there is no documentation of their arrangements. It is thus often impossible to decide which publisher’s version was the first. In listing them, we have preferred to assign priority to a version that carries correct signatures aligned with the gatherings of the book rather than to an unsigned version or one with obsolete signatures.

Copies of most of the books listed, and of many of the periodical and newspaper articles are in the collections of the two authors. We are therefore often in a position to supply additional information about them upon request. However, the work could not have been completed without extensive examination of copies in libraries. Most important was the British Library, followed by the Bodleian Library, which has a collection of Jerome’s own copies of many of his books, most of them inscribed to his wife. In America, the Library of Congress and the University of Illinois Library provided a wealth of information. The University of Toronto Library and the Toronto Public Library both have significant collections, while a special word of thanks must go to the staff at the Pittsburg State University Library (Kansas) and the University of Kansas Library, for their invaluable information on the Haldeman-Julius editions of three of Jerome’s books.

The full document can be downloaded as a PDF (JKJ-bibliography-FR) or you can use the navigation to the right to go to a page about each individual work and containing pictures of the cover and frontispiece where we have them.