Early Golf Books with Dust Jackets


As serious collectors are aware, the presence of a dust jacket increases a book’s value, sometimes dramatically. This is especially true of early golf books. There is a long held belief among collectors that certain seminal works in golf literature were published without dust jackets. We include in this category George Thomas’s Golf Architecture in America and Robert Hunter’s The Links. In fact, they were published with dust jackets as we will review in this month’s newsletter.

 First, we think a short, generic history of dust jackets would be in order to put the discussion in proper perspective. The original intention of the dust jacket was to protect the book while it remained in the possession of the bookseller. They were viewed as throw-away items and not to be used for the life of the book. Typically, they were made of cheaper quality paper or manila paper, often times without the name of the book printed on them. In the 1890s dust jackets began to evolve to include the name of the book and author on them, but still did not have any design or illustrations. Early dust jackets that serve the same function we know of today, with illustrations, etc. started to appear at the turn of the century but were not prevalent until after World War I. Longmans, Green, a British publisher was one of the earliest to issue jackets. Their book Keepsake, published in 1832 is one of the earliest known books to be issued with a dust jacket.[i] 




,As a service to our clients we have compiled a list below of golf books that are known to have been published in a jacket. Since golf reference books such as Murdoch do not list the presence of jackets, we believe this is the first time a comprehensive list has been published. We do not claim that the list is exhaustive or complete since it is difficult to ascertain whether books published so long ago were issued with jackets. And, we have learned that in this business, you should never say never. Lurking in someone’s attic somewhere is a yet to be discovered copy of an early golf book with a dust jacket in fine condition. That’s why we find collecting golf books to be such an interesting pastime. And please, if you own or know of early titles that have jackets that are not on this list let us know since we plan to keep an active list on our web-site.

When did jackets more from being a repetition of the cover or plain to different? The earliest golf book we could find with a dust jacket was Drives and Puts by Walter Camp, published in 1899. No, that is not a typo, the title of the book is spelled puts. Below is the list our research has been able to discover: [UPDATE, MAY 2008 we have been informed of a copy of The Golfer’s Alphabet by Sutphen, published in 1898 by Harper Brothers with a dust jacket.]

Published Title Author Publisher
1899 Drives and Puts W. Camp L.C. Page
1900 The Book of Golf and Golfers[ii] H.G. Hutchinson Longmans, Green
1902 Golf W.G. Brown Houghton, Mifflin
Golf: The Badminton Library[iii] H.G. Hutchinson Longmans, Green
Taylor on Golf J.H. Taylor Hutchinson
1905 Golf Faults Illustrated[iv] G. Beldam George Newnes
1906 Picturesque Musselburgh and Its Links W.C. Maughan R. Gemmell Hutchinson
1909 The New Golfers Almanac W.L. Stoddard Houghton, Mifflin
1910 Golf Courses of the British Isles[v] B. Darwin Duckworth
Golf Curios and the Like H.B. Wood Sheratt & Hughes
1912 The Book of the Links M. Sutton W.H. Smith & Son
1915 Pro and Con of Golf A. Revell Rand McNally
1916 The New Golf P.A. Vaile E.P. Dutton
1917 Dormie One H. Hall The Century Co.
1918 Fore! C. Van Loan George H. Doran
1919 Super Golf H.K. Browning Simpkin, Marshall
Golf’s Little Ironies H. Fulford Simpkin, Marshall
Fifty Years of Golf H. Hutchinson Country Life
1920 Progressive Golf H. Vardon Hutchinson
Golf Architecture A. Mackenzie Simpkin, Marshall
Enchanted Golf Clubs R. Marshall Alexander Moring
Pictorial Golf H.B. Martin Dodd, Mead
Some Essays on Golf Course Architecture Colt and Alison Country Life
1921 The Complete Golfer(later edition) H. Vardon Methuen
1922 The Clicking of Cuthbert P.G. Wodehouse Herbert Jenkins
Golf for Beginners G. Campbell C. Arthur Pearson
The Psychology of Golf L. Schon Methuen
Golf C. Leicth  
Present Day Golf G. Duncan Hodder & Stoughton
On the Green S.J. Looker Daniel O’Connor
The Gist of Golf H. Vardon George H. Doran
1923 Driving, Approaching, Putting E. Ray R.M. McBride
Adventures in Golf H.M. Bateman Methuen
Lyrics of the Links F.B. Keene D. Appleton
Epic of Golf C. Scollard Houghton, Mifflin
Humours of Golf W.H. Robinson Methuen
The Principles of Golf M.J. Astle Chambers
Common Sense Golf W.J. Thompson Thomas Allen
So This is Golf H.L.Wilson Cosmopolitan
1924 Golf Without Tears P.G. Wodehouse George H. Doran
Gene Sarazen’s Common Sense Golf Tips G. Sarazen Thos. E. Wilson Co.
Golf Simplified C. Leitch Thornton Butterworth
The Modern Golfer C. J.H. Tolley Alfred A. Knopf
1925 Golfing Reminiscences W.F. Reid J. & J. Gray
Locker Room Ballads W.H. Webling Brentano’s
The Autobiography of an Average Golfer O.B. Keeler Greenberg Publishers
Golf for Young Players G. Collett Little, Brown
The Basis of the Golf Swing J. Forrest Thomas Murby
1926 The Fifth Estate J. Travers Alfred A. Knopf
The Links R. Hunter Charles Scribner’s Sons
How to Play Golf (19th edition) H. Vardon Methuen
Golf for Young Players G. Collett Little, Brown
1927 Golf Architecture in America G. Thomas Times-Mirror Press
Down The Fairway R. T. Jones Minton Balch & Co.
The Architectural Side of Golf J. Wethered Longmans, Green
1928 Green Memories B. Darwin Hodder & Stoughton
1930 Second Shots B. Darwin George Newnes
1931 Golf H. Cotton Eyre and Spottiswoode
1932 The Game of Golf F. Ouimet Houghton, Mifflin

The illustration below is of Bernard Darwin’s Golf Courses of the British Isles in a dust jacket. This is typical of the jackets of the period, which, unlike jackets of today, replicate the design of the cover.



How much does the presence of a jacket increase the value of a book? Partly, it depends on the condition of the jacket. Since these jackets are in some instances over one hundred years old, it is difficult to find them in good condition. Often, they are understandably torn or worn. As an example of the difference in value we come back to Thomas’s Golf Architecture in America. Generally a very good copy of this title sells for between $650 and $1,000. Three copies have sold at auction with dust jackets over the last ten years for $2,000, $3,000 and $4,800. Robert Hunter’s The Links generally sells in the $600-$700 range in very good condition. Two editions with dust jackets have sold for above $1,000 in the last two years. A first edition of Wodehouse’s The Clicking of Cuthbert is worth conservatively at least $1,000 more with the jacket. 




[i] Book-Jackets, Blurbs and Bibliographers. G. Thomas Tanselle. London, The Bibliographical Society, 1971.
[ii] This is the third edition, published in 1900. The first edition and second impression were published in 1899. Dust jacket is plain brown in color with the name of the book on the spine.
[iii] The 1911 edition of Badminton Golf was also issued with a jacket. Both are “Amazon” orange in color and replicate the design of the book
[iv] Plain brown dust jacket with the name of the book in black lettering on the front cover and spine

[v] The dust jacket is grey and repeats the misspelling of the illustrator whose first name rowntree should be roundtree. The 1925 second edition, titled The Golf Courses of Great Britain was also issued with a jacket.

About valuablebook

Valuable Book Group specializes in rare, collectible and valuable golf books. We are avid collectors ourselves obsessed not only with playing the game, but also its history and the literature of the game.

One comment

  1. Pingback: Travers Golf Book | Book reviews of golf books worth reading or investing time or money in; vintage, rare and new

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