Vintage Greenleaf Classics Books
Illustrated Checklist and Index
Welcome to the work-in-progress checklist of vintage paperback books published by Greenleaf Classics.
This archive documents the 4300 books published under various company names and imprints from 1959 to 1975. As a group they are informally known as the vintage Greenleaf Classics books.
An essential pleasure of vintage paperback collecting is that moment of discovery, looking at a book and seeing something new. Collecting Greenleaf books has delivered this moment many times. This site is here so others can also feel that moment of finding the unexpected - the sense of wonder and awe when looking at an amazing book for the first time.
Not only are there visual surprises - researchers can find new insights with ease when digging into the hyper-linked bibliographic data. Browse related books with just a click.
TODAY'S FEATURED IMPRINT Companion Books
This on-line checklist is based on an almost complete collection of Greenleaf Classics vintage paperback books. The physical collection is maintained by Bob Speray, with Bruce Brenner, as photographer and cataloger. Find out more about the 30 year history of building the collection and creating the data set - it's a great story over on the History of the Greenleaf Classics Book Collection page.
Read below to get an overview of the archive before going into the gallery of imprints, or just enter and start browsing the imprints looking for one to explore further.
Imprints, Lines, Series
This digital archive focuses on the first 16 years of publishing by the Greenleaf Classics organization run by William Hamling. During this time, thousands of titles were published within multiple series or lines. The term "imprint" is used here for those series or lines.
This digital archive currently catalogs 3500 titles in 25 different imprints. Another 800 books in 10 imprints are still to be cataloged. The cataloging plan has been to first enter the imprints with painted cover art that are the most visually appealing. This is done. The remaining imprints, which have line-drawing art or photo covers, will be added shortly.
Explore the books by browsing the gallery of imprints, looking for one to dig into. When you see one that gets your interest, click on the button to show the books. This shows you a gallery of thumbnails for all the books in the imprint, in the order they were published. Click on a gallery cover image to see detailed bibliographic information about the book and a larger image of the cover.
Once you get into browsing the books, there are links at every point to view groups of books by author, byline, artist, date, imprint and even tagged words in the title. A search form is at the top of every page. You can search for any word in any of the book's attributes.
Help Improve The Archive
This web site is here to publish the most current and best information about Vintage Greenleaf Classics Books, based on the research and interest of collectors and fans who share an interest in them.
The goal of this on-line illustrated checklist is to provide full and correct information about each book published by Greenleaf Classics, and to show a good image of each book cover.
New or corrected information will be included as it is found.
Please help. Contribute missing information or alert us to any mistakes that exist.
The physical collection of books is still being built. There are books missing from the archive that are needed to complete the collection.
If you have a copy of a missing book, please contact us.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Who Wrote The Sex Novels?
In the world of sex novels, the name of the author is fiction, just like the stories. The author name printed on the cover is never a real person. This aspect is captured in the cataloged book data.
The term "byline" is used to note the author name used on the cover or title page. The main entry for the byline comes from the cover when cover and title page differ.
The term "author" is used to note the name of the actual person who wrote the book. When known, the writer's name will be listed in the author field. When unknown, the author field is empty and not shown.
Are You Seeing Obscene?
William Hamling, owned the Greenleaf publishing business. It was the leading source of adult sex novels from 1959 through 1975 - the vintage period that this collection covers.
Hamling kept First Amendment lawyer Stanley Fleishman, busy defending the right to publish and distribute erotic fiction in the many obscenity prosecutions that were mounted to suppress Greenleaf Classics. The winning results in those trials established the case law that we enjoy now. This year's best sellers exist because of the work that was done.
Hamling did not win every trial. Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover each had issues with sexuality that was at odds with their public face. They took it personally that Greenleaf Classics sex novels were being published. They used their position and power to repeatedly go after the Hamling organization. Eventually the Feds won one.
Hamling and editor Earl Kemp, were convicted of obscenity in federal court and were forced out of the business in 1974. (The conviction was for mailing a promotional brochure about a book, not for the book.)
When enjoying this online archive, consider the cost paid to produce the legacy.
The principals at Greenleaf Classics publishing were convicted of obscenity and spent time in jail.
Who Painted The Covers?
The covers of Greenleaf Classics are striking and memorable; and are unlike anything on other published paperbacks.
Who did that art?
Because most of the art is not signed, we must look at the style to distinguish who did them - though a few pieces of the original art exist and a handful of these have notes on the back that indicate who painted them.
One such note led to identifying Robert Bonfils, as the artist and this eventually led to meeting with him and getting his help to identify artists.
He was a staff artist at Greenleaf Classics from 1962 until 1973 and painted many of the most striking covers. He has been kind enough to review the books in the collection and separated the book covers he painted from those he did not.
He has identified many of the latter as being painted by the other artists working for Greenleaf, such as Harold McCauley, Darrell Millsap, Ed Smith, Tomas Cannizarro, Harry Bremner, and Robert Kinyon.
Where it is known or can be confidently deduced, the artist attribution is included in the cataloged data for each book. When a cover does not have a positive artist attribution, it is listed as "Unknown".
Harry Bremner is the artist who did the attractive hand-lettering of titles on the covers.
Over the years, many fans have claimed that this or that book cover was painted by Robert Bonfils but he has assured us that he did not paint all of these, and that he does not know who did certain of the covers. To clear up this confusion, there may be an added note in the detailed information about such books that states clearly that Robert Bonfils did not paint the cover art. This type note is added for books with cover art that has been attributed to Robert Bonfils in the past, but that he has reviewed, and explicitly assures us he did not do.
Because Robert Bonfils' cover images have such power, freelance artists wanting to sell to Greenleaf were directed to copy the "Bonfils look". This is why some covers not painted by Robert Bonfils may resemble his work.