The Penguin Reference series was, for seven years, a single rust-colored paperback. Then, after the war, a market suddenly developed for inexpensive reference material in an era when most people couldn’t afford (or make room for) an extensive encyclopedia set in a pre-computing era. The series underwent the usual post-Lane face lift in the seventies, with another, bolder look in the eighties and nineties.

There are a few holes in the series entering the ISBN era, as well as the mystery of R43, which I’ve seen listed as “The Penguin Encyclopedia of People,” though I’ve found no evidence so far of its existence.

Addendum: I’ve plunged ahead into the eighties, and if you’ve ever wished Penguin would stop re-using ISBNs with new editions, well, here’s your hell. Penguin modernized many of its editions, which means a prospective collector will have to decide what a complete collection looks like. Don’t skip the end of the list entirely, though, or your’ll miss Colin McEvedy’s excellent atlases, which were once housed under the Q series.

R1A Dictionary of ScienceE.B. Uvarov1944 
R2A Dictionary of GeographyW.G. Moore1949 
R3A Dictionary of BiologyM. Abercrombie et al1951 
R4A Dictionary of MusicRobert Illing1950 
R5A Dictionary of PsychologyJames Drever1952 
R6An English-German German-English DictionaryW.E. and J. Connell1954 
R7Roget’s ThesaurusPeter Mark Roget1953 
R8A Dictionary of GeologyG.W. Himus1955 
R9A Dictionary of BalletG.B.L. Wilson1957 
R10A Dictionary of PoliticsFlorence Elliott1957 
R11A Dictionary of Civil EngineeringJohn S. Scott1958 
R12A New Dictionary of MusicArthur Jacobs1958 
R13The Penguin Dictionary of ArchitectureJohn Fleming1966 
R14A Dictionary of Art and ArtistsPeter & Linda Murray1959 
R15A Dictionary of BuildingJohn S. Scott1964 
R16The Penguin Dictionary of QuotationsJ.M. & M.J. Cohen1960 
R17World Events 1960Ivison Macadam, ed.1960 
R18A Dictionary of SailingF.H. Burgess1961 
R19A Dictionary of ElectronicsS. Handel1962 
R20The Penguin Russian CourseJ.L.I. Fennell1961 
R21The Penguin Dictionary of British Natural HistoryMaisie Fitter1967 
R22World Events 1961Ivison Macadam, ed.1961 
R23World Events 1962Ivison Macadam, ed.1962 
R24Usage and Abusage: A Guide to Good EnglishEric Partridge1963 
R25The Penguin Book of LiederS.S. Prawer1964 
R26A Dictionary of Modern History 1789-1945A.W. Palmer1964 
R27A Shakespeare Companion 1564-1964F.E. Halliday1964 
R28A Dictionary of AstronomyAke Wallenquist1968 
R29The Penguin English DictionaryG.N. Garmonsway1965 
R30A Dictionary of SaintsDonald Attwater1965 
R31The Penguin EncyclopediaSir John Summerscale1965 
R32A Dictionary of SurnamesBasil Cottle1967014051032X
R33The Penguin Dictionary of the TheatreJohn Russell Taylor19660140510338
R34The Penguin Companion to Literature 1David Danches, ed.19710140510346
R35The Penguin Companion to Literature 2Anthony Thorlby, ed.19690140510354
R36The Penguin Companion to Literature 3Malcolm Bradbury, ed.19710140510362
R37The Penguin Companion to Literature 4D.R. Dudley & D.M. Lang, eds.19690140510370
R38The Penguin Dictionary of Modern QuotationsJ.M. & M.J. Cohen19710140510389
R39A Dictionary of ComputersAnthony Chandor19700140510397
R40Asia HandbookGuy Wint, ed.19690140510400
R41Africa HandbookColin Legum, ed.19690140510419
R42Dictionary of American PoliticsEugene J. McCarthy19680140510427
R44The Penguin Dictionary of CommerceMichael Greener19700140510443
R45The Penguin Dictionary of ArchaeologyDavid Trump19720140510451
R46The Dictionary of Historical SlangEric Partridge1972014051046X
R47The Penguin Encyclopedia of PlacesW.G. Moore19710140510478
R48Penguin Medical EncyclopediaPeter Wingate19720140510486
R49The Penguin Dictionary of GeologyJ.R.V. Brooks19730140510494
R51The Penguin Dictionary of EconomicsGraham Bannock19720140510516
R52A Critical Dictionary of PsychoanalysisCharles Rycroft19720140510524
R53Facts in FocusCentral Statistical Office19720140510532
R54The Penguin Atlas of World History 1Hermann Kinder19740140510540
R55Who’s Who in the Ancient WorldBetty Radice, ed.19730140510559
R56The Penguin Shorter Atlas of the BibleLuc H. Grollenberg19780140510567
R58Chronology of the Modern WorldNeville Williams19750140510583
R59The Penguin World AtlasPeter Hall, ed.19740140510591
R61The Penguin Atlas of World History 2Hermann Kinder19780140510613
R62A Dictionary of Austrailian EducationJohn D. McLaren19740140510621
R63A Handbook of ManagementThomas Kempner1976014051063X
R64The Concise Cambridge Italian DictionaryBarbara Reynolds19750140510648
R65The Penguin French DictionaryMerlin Thomas19860140510656
R67The Penguin Russian DictionaryW.F. Ryan19960140510672
R68The Penguin Spanish DictionaryJames R. Jump19900140510680
R69Medicines: A Guide for EverybodyPeter Parish19760140510699
R70The International Thesaurus of QuotationsR.T. Tripp19760140510702
R71The Penguin Dictionary of PhysicsValerie H. Pitt, ed.19770140510710
R72Mind the Stop: A Brief Guide to PunctuationGordon Vero Carey19760140510729
R73The Penguin German-English DictionaryTimothy Buck19900140510737
R74The New Penguin Dictionary of ElectronicsE.H Young19790140510745
R75Encyclopedia of MountaineeringWalt Unsworth19770140510753
R76Atlas of World Population HistoryColin McEvedy & Richard Jones19780140510761
R78Dictionary of World ArtJohn Fleming 0140510788
R79The Penguin Dictionary of PsychologyArthur S. Reber19860140510796
R80Penguin Dictionary of PhilosophyGodgrey Vesey1987014051080X
R82The Penguin Dictionary of Decorative ArtsJohn Fleming19770140510826
R83Penguin Atlas of African HistoryColin McEvedy19800140510834
R84Dictionary of English and European HistoryE. Williams19800140510842
R85The Penguin Dictionary of Twentieth Century HistoryAlan Palmer19790140510850
R89The Penguin Dictionary of Design and DesigersSimon Jervis19840140510893
R94The Penguin Dictionary of Physical GeographyJohn B. Whittow1984014051094X
R95The Penguin Dictionary of Human GeographyBrian Goodall19870140510958
R96The New Penguin World AtlasPeter Hall19790140510966
R97The Penguin Book of Mathematical and Statistical TablesR.D. Nelson19800140510974
R99The Penguin Concise Dictionary of Biographical QuotationsJustin Wintle19860140510990
R100The Penguin Dictionary of MicroprocessorsAnthony Chandor19810140511008
R102The Penguin Guide to the LawJohn Pritchard19820140511024
R106The Penguin Dictionary of ReligionsJohn R. Hinnells19840140511067
R107The Penguin Dictionary of TelecommunicationsJohn Graham19830140511075
R108The Penguin Dictioanry of SociologyNicholas Abercrombie19840140511083
R109The Plain-Language Law DictionaryRobert E. Rothenberg19810140511091
R111A Dictionary of Biology (new edition)M. Abercrombie et al19810140511113
R112A Ditionary of Literary Terms: RevisedJ.A. Cuddon19820140511121
R113The Penguin Dictionary of ChemistryD.W.A. Sharp1982014051113X
R114The Penguin Map of the WorldMichael Middleditch19820140511148
R115The Penguin Dictionary of BuildingJohn S. Scott19860140511156
R116The Penguin Dictionary of Archaeology (2nd ed.)Warwick Bray19820140511164
R117The Dictionary of Visual LanguagePhilip Thompson19800140511172
R118The Penguin Dictionary of ProverbsRosalind Fergusson19830140511180
R119The Penguin Dictionary of MathematicsJohn Dainthith19950140511199
R121Medicines: A Guide for Everybody (4th ed.)Peter Parish19820140511210
R122Medicines: A Guide for Everybody (5th ed.)Peter Parish19840140511229
R123The Penguin Dictionary of Saints (2nd ed.)Donald Attwater19840140511237
R124Roget’s ThesaurusPeter Roget19890140511245
R125Dictionary of Modern History 1789-1945: RevisedAlan Palmer19840140511253
R126The Penguin Dictionary of BotanyStephen Blackmore19840140511261
R127The Penguin Dictionary of Computers (3rd ed.)Anthony Chandor1986014051127X
R128The Penguin Atlas of North American History to 1870Colin McEvedy19880140511288
R131The Penguin Dictionary of Twentieth Century History: RevisedAlan Palmer19840140511318
R133The Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists (5th ed.)Peter & Linda Murray19880140511334
R134The Penguin Dictionary of Economics (3rd ed.)Baxter Reeds Bannock19840140511342
R135The Penguin Dictionary of English IdiomsDaphne M. Gulland19870140511350
R136The Penguin Rhyming DictionaryRosalind Fergusson19860140511369
R137The Penguin Pocket ThesaurusFaye Carney19850140511377
R139The Penguin English Dictionary 1985-86 19850140511393
R140The Penguin Map of the British IslesMichael Middleditch19870140511407
R144The Penguin Companion to the Arts in the Twentieth CenturyKenneth McLeish1986014051144X
R146The Penguin Guide to the Law (2nd ed.)John Pritchard19850140511466
R147The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular MusicDonald Clarke19890140511474
R150The Penguin Map of EuropeMichael Middleditch19850140511504
R151The Penguin Atlas of Ancient HistoryColin McEvedy19860140511512
R152The Penguin Atlas of Medieval HistoryColin McEvedy19860140511520
R153The Penguin Atlas of Modern HistoryColin McEvedy19860140511539
R154The Penguin Atlas of Recent HistoryColin McEvedy19860140511547
R155Roget’s ThesaurusPeter Roget19850140511555
R156The Penguin Dictionary of Science: New EditionE.B. Uvarov19860140511563

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