There are books and then, there are covers or dust jackets for hardbound books.

I recently came across quite a few books published in the late 1940s with dust jackets intact. They are intriguing, interesting and nice to behold. Can we judge a book by its cover, maybe not. But we can quickly get an idea about the book. . . . see what you think. How much do we know judging from the covers?

MacKinley Cantor, Signal Thirty-Two


Mary Jane Ward, The Snake Pit


Martin Boyd, Lucinda Brayford



Ruth Moore, Spoonhandle



Each of the titles is linked to short biographies. . .  some of them later became films, one of the writers won a Pulitzer for another work. Mary Jane Ward, described as a “housewife” by more than one reviewer, opened the door to conditions in mental health institutions and remains an important work on the subject. Lucinda Brayford appears as a heroine in film noir although she is not while  Signal Thirty-Two qualifies.

The covers on these books  although intriguing are convincing evidence that you really can’t judge a book by its cover. Even if the covers are outstanding illustrations.