There used to be an blog called NCL Collecting, run by ‘The Ignorant Intellectual.’ The purpose of the blog was to document the author’s collection of New Canadian Library titles. The blog was a useful resource since the NCL had gone through several iterations where some titles were dropped and others added, and there is no readily available list of what books belonged to the NCL at various times. The NCL Collecting blog was helpfully developing a list of titles that belonged to the NCL, as well as some of its competitor series like the Laurentian Library, Macmillan Paperbacks, and the New Press Canadian Classics.
The NCL Collecting blog was defunct by the time of my review of I Do Remember the Fall in 2017, since the last update had been in 2015. Nevertheless, the blog remained online, so the reference lists remained available. I noticed recently that the domain for the blog (nclcollecting.ca) has lapsed, so the blog has gone offline. Luckily it’s still possible to access most of it through the WayBack Machine, so its contents are not completely lost to digital decay. My plan is backup some of the useful information here so that similarly interested people might be able to find it online without needing to know where to look.
One of the effects of the blog going offline is that the posted images are not retrievable. Much of the blog’s space was dedicated to exhibiting the cover art from NCL series, but the images are not saved by the WayBack Machine and appear as broken when viewed through the archived version.
The blog contained information on several CanLit series I’m interested in collecting:
- The New Canadian Library
The famous Canadian literature line published by McClelland & Stewart, starting in 1958. As the most prolific series of CanLit ever published, the NCL occupies a special place in the history of our national literature.
- The Clarke Irwin Canadian Paperbacks (1963-1970)
A series published by Clarke Irwin that’s distinctive for not limiting itself strictly to novels and short stories as the NCL typically does. It also included some non-fiction, autobiographies, histories, and plays.
- Copp Clark: Studies in Canadian Literature (1970??)
A brief series of biographies of major Canadian writers, including Charles G.D. Roberts, Morley Callahan, and Hugh MacLennan. The NCL collecting blog was aware of eleven books which existed in the series.
- Forum House: Canadian Writers and Their Works (1969-1972)
A series of short biographies of Canadian authors written published by Forum House, an imprint of Coles Publishing. Only six books were published during the series’ life.
- Laurentian Library (1967-1979)
A competitor to the NCLs fiction line that achieved at least 75 titles during its run. The Ignorant Intellectual suggests that it struggled against the NCL since the material used to make the books were of inferior quality.
- Macmillan Paperbacks (1979 – Late 1980s)
Macmillian replaced the Laurentian Library with this series in 1979. In the later eighties Stoddart and the Canadian Publishing Corporation purportedly took over the series and published some titles themselves.
- New Press Canadian Classics (Early 1980s – Mid 1990s)
An imprint of General Publishing, which was based out of Toronto. General was owned by Jack Stoddart of Stoddart Publishing and both companies published NPCC books. The series published 58 titles in its lifetime and many of its more successful entries were absorbed by the NCL after it was concluded in the nineties.