Selected Special Collections
Dell Paperback Collection
Archival set of Dell paperbacks
(Above: Seven different printings of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 done from 1962-1974.)
In 1976, through the interest of Helen Meyer, the chairperson of the board of Dell Publishing Company, Inc., a virtually complete set of Dell paperbacks was presented to the Library by Western Publishing Company, the Wisconsin-based firm that has handled production and printing of Dell paperbacks since the first issues of the Dell Books series in 1943. In forming this archival collection, Western Publishing Company tried to document major changes in cover design resulting from marketing strategy, the release of a movie adaptation, and fluctuations in price and in many cases retained successive reissues of a sing publication. The four copies of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five issued under number 8029, for example, exhibit three markedly different covers. Though approximately 90 percent of the books are reprints of titles previously issued in hard cover, the collection includes the Dell First Editions series which was begun in 1953 and features works by George Sumner Albee, George C. Appell, Jack Finney, and Margaret Mead. There are 6,051 items in the collection.