Last weekend, I finally visited The Morgan Library & Museum, which houses J.P. Morgan’s collection of art and books.
The special exhibit currently on display celebrates the 100th anniversary of Du côté de chez Swann by Marcel Proust. Interestingly, Proust self-published his book in 1913 (with the help of a backer). I knew self-publishing had been around for a long time, but this was the first time I could see an up close and personal example of it. Unfortunately, due to copyright reasons, I could not take pictures of the original books, but here’s a more modern version:
Additionally, I found out that the first book cover that was specifically designed for a story was The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
Apparently, in the decade after the book cover appeared, more pictorial dust jackets appeared, and publishers started to see that “an eye-catching cover, reflective of its content, could turn a book into its own advertisement.”