Very Good. Item #6051
New York [Chicago]: The Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, 1910-11 . (29 Volumes) "Handy Edition" photographic reissue on India paper, distributed by Sears, Roebuck, and Company. Octavo; page counts vary from 932pp to 1080pp. Tipped-in plates, maps, tables, and charts in every volume, with the exception of the final Index (Vol. 29).
This is a complete, contemporary, Britannica-sponsored issue of the renowned eleventh edition.
Blue-gray cloth with blind-stamped front panels; gilt lettering on spines. A thorough (but not exhaustive) examination indicates all tipped-in plates and maps are present; colors still bright on color plates.
All volumes Very Good with the exceptions of Vols. 8, 15, 23, 29, which are Good, showing some joint and hinge cracking, and minor segments missing or torn from spine cloth. The Index, vol. 29, has had its joints and hinges repaired with non-archival tape. All volumes, however, are complete and unmarked, with only slight foxing here and there. Maps show very few, and only minor, misfolds. The map of the state of Indiana in Vol. 14 is missing about 10% of the original surface.
Vols. 1-14 give the publication date of 1910 on the title page; vols. 15-29 give 1911. In fact the entire set is an unabridged photographic re-issue from 1915—the date on James Bryce's "Preface" in Vol. 1—in a more compact format, distributed by Sears, Roebuck, and Company (out of Chicago, not New York).
The proximate cause of the American reissue in this format was World War I in Europe; a more mercantile cause was specified in Viscount Bryce's "Preface": "This brings me to a question raised by the appearance in a smaller form of that great storehouse of knowledge. . . . Its most directly practical use is as a book of reference to which those engaged in some profession or business may go for information on a matter which they wish to understand for some business purpose. This is an obvious value, and needs no comment."
Sears would become owners of the Britannica enterprise in 1920.