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News Release

For immediate use:

Jan. 2, 2008

Note: To download images, see end of story.

Everyman’s Library exhibit, program in Wilson Library

CHAPEL HILL – The gilt floral spines and petite dimensions of the Everyman’s Library book series are familiar to anyone who has frequented used bookstores or explored a dusty attic.

Joseph Malaby Dent founded Everyman’s Library in London in 1906 with the goal of publishing 1,000 classic titles in beautiful and widely affordable editions.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library will examine the 102-year history of Everyman’s Library in the free public exhibit “The ABC of Collecting Everyman’s Library: Archives, Books, Collections.”

The exhibit, to run from Jan. 17 through March 31, will showcase 107 historic Everyman’s titles, including a copy of “Nicholas Nickleby” rebound in pink suede as a gift from actress Elizabeth Taylor to her then-husband, the late Richard Burton.

Advertising, bookmarks and business records from the J.M. Dent & Sons archive, which is held in Wilson Library, also will be displayed. Other Everyman’s volumes on exhibit will include Aristotle’s  “Metaphysics”annotated by C.S. Lewis, author of the Narnia tales, and a copy of “Alice in Wonderland” that belonged to Alice (Liddell) Hargreaves, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s story

Terry Seymour, who wrote “A Guide to Collecting Everyman’s Library” (2005), will speak at 6 p.m. Jan. 17 in Wilson Library. Items from his collection of Everyman’s books will be on loan to UNC as part of the exhibit.

In his free public talk, “The Adventures of a Collector,” Seymour will discuss his experiences in acquiring the books, as well as a bit about Dent.

“He wanted to make money, but he had a lot of idealism, too,” said Seymour, an independent scholar and retired financial planner. A self-educated man, Dent believed strongly in publishing great books with high production standards and selling them at the affordable price of a shilling each. The idea, said Seymour, “succeeded beyond Dent’s wildest dreams.”

Libby Chenault, Ph.D., exhibit curator and rare book librarian, said that the exhibit will be both a celebration of Everyman’s Library and a chance for people to learn more about collecting.

“There’s nothing quite like Everyman’s Library,” she said. “The books are familiar, they’re beautiful, and even today many cost less than $20 each. They’re a wonderful window into the excitement of building a personal collection of books, or anything else.”

The exhibit will be in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room on the third floor of Wilson Library. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, except holidays. Call (919) 962-1143 or email for exhibit information. For information on Seymour’s talk, contact Liza Terll at (919) 962-4207 or

Exhibit Web site:

Note: Chenault can be reached at (919) (919) 962-1143,
News Services contact: LJ Toler, (919) 962-8589

Photo cutlines and URLs:

Volumes from Everyman’s Library series:
Lighthouse with the Everyman’s Library monogram, designed by artist Reginald Knowles and printed on the books’ dust jackets in the late 1920s:

Title page from a 1927 file copy of “Pinocchio.” File copies are the publisher’s in-house copies used for reference and business records:

The 1906 prospectus for Everyman’s Library, calling on British and American consumers to support the effort toward a “worthy national library” one “democratic shilling” at a time: