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Nelson, Éditeurs (NED)

1920s: 189, rue Saint-Jacques, Paris

1930s: 25, rue Denfert-Rocherau, Paris.

1940s: 25, rue Henri Barbusse, Paris.

Thomas Nelson and Sons of Edinburgh also published books in Paris under the imprint Nelson Éditeurs, but the books were designed and printed in Edinburgh. Nelson had a reputation for producing good quality but inexpensive books. Most books published in France in those days were issued in soft wrappers, called une couverture souple, so that the owner could have them bound as they chose, whereas Nelson's produced books with a pleasantly decorated binding (see left) until the late 1940s.

Blampied designed the jackets of 11 novels published in the Collection Nelson, a series of 453 titles published between 1910 and 1963. You can find details of many of the books published by Thomas Nelson in France at a very detailed French website called Nelson’s Collections. Some of the books in my collection are shown there.

The books in the Collection Nelson were mostly by French writers and were reprinted many times. As the books are rarely dated it is impossible to tell which is the first edition. The price and advertisements on the dust jacket may give some indication. For example, novels printed during World War 1 tell readers that they can send books inexpensively to soliders when the price was 1 franc 25 centimes, but this price was soon covered with stickers that priced the books at 4 francs 50 (see Voyageuses). Later editions cost 7 francs. The one constant was the design of the dust jacket which was used for some volumes into the 1950s. The edition of La Robe de Laine with a jacket design by Blampied shown here is dated 1954.

Image of book binding

The attractive binding of a typical book (click to enlarge)

Blampied was commissioned to design the wrapper of these books by Edwin Chater Jack of Thomas Nelson and Sons. The titles were identified in copies of letters written by Jack to Blampied which are now in Edinburgh University Library. Although most of the jackets are signed either 'Blampied' or 'Blam' two are not: Du 18 Brumaire A Waterloo and Napoleon at la Paix. The order of the books is based on the dates on which the designs were commissioned in letters from Edwin Jack rather than on the numbers in the Collection partly because Colette Baudoche is the second edition.

There is an interesting French web site run by collectors called Collection Nelson, which is trying to identify all the books published by Thomas Nelson and Sons with a focus on the titles published in France. There are many images of books on the site, some of which I have provided.

The entries below using give links to the entry page about the author in Wikipedia in English and to a usually different entry about the author in French Wikipedia.

Click on the thumbnail to see a large image; click on the link to see details of each book and an image, if available.

— 1917 —

Small image of dust jacket   NED-17.1Voyageuses by Paul Bourget (Dust jacket and frontispiece of novel)

Small image of dust jacket   NED-17.2Belle-Rose by Amédéé Achard (Dust jacket and frontispiece of novel)

— 1919 —

Small image of dust jacket   NED-19.1Colette Baudoche by Maurice Barrés (Dust jacket of novel)

Small image of dust jacket   NED-19.2Les Déracinés by Maurice Barrés (Dust jacket of novel)

Small image of dust jacket   NED-19.3L'Appel au Soldat Maurice Barrés (Dust jacket of novel)

— 1920 —

Small image of dust jacket   NED-20.1Le Roman de Leonardo da Vinci by Dmitry de Mérejkowsky (Dust jacket of novel)

Small image of dust jacket   NED-20.2Du 18 Brumaire à Waterloo by Jules Michelet (Dust jacket of novel)

Small image of dust jacket   NED-20.3Le Roman de la Momie by Théophile Gautier (Dust jacket of novel)

Small image of dust jacket   NED-20.4Figures et Chose qui Passaient by Pierre Loti (Dust jacket of novel)

Small image of dust jacket   NED-20.5Le Robe de la Laine by Henry Bordeaux (Dust jacket of novel)

— 1921 —

Small image of dust jacket   NED-21.1Napoléon et la Paix by Arthur Lévy (Dust jacket of novel)

— 1923 —

Small image of dust jacket   NED-23.1Les Chouans ou la Bretagne en 1799 Honoré de Balzac (Illustrated story for children)

— 1932 —

Small image of cover   NED-32.1Les Animaux de la Ferme by Various (Children's selection)