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Abrams, Harry Nathan (23 February 1905–25 November 1979), publisher and art collector, was born in London, England, the son of Morris Abrams, a shoe store proprietor, and Amelia Rosenberg. In 1913 the family moved from London to New York City, where Abrams studied at the National Academy of Design and at the Art Students League....

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Adams, Harriet Stratemeyer (11 December 1892–27 March 1982), author and partner in the Stratemeyer Syndicate, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the daughter of Edward Stratemeyer, an author and the founder of the Stratemeyer Literary Syndicate, and Magdalene Van Camp. Much of Adams’s life was influenced by her famous father. Circa 1905 he established the Stratemeyer Literary Syndicate, whereby he developed new juvenile series, hired writers to flesh out plot outlines he created, then successfully marketed the manuscripts to publishers. Exposure to her father’s career sparked an early interest in writing. Years later Adams recalled watching her father and one of his chief ghostwriters, ...

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Aitken, Robert (22 January 1735–15 July 1802), printer and publisher, was born in Dalkeith, Scotland. His parents’ names are unknown. Sometime after serving a regular apprenticeship with a bookbinder in Edinburgh, he became established in Paisley, Scotland, as a binder, bookseller, and proprietor of a circulating library. From there he moved to Philadelphia in May 1771 with his wife, Janet Skeoch, and two children, the eldest of whom was seven; two more children were later born in Philadelphia. In June he opened a stationer’s shop and what was soon “the largest and most valuable bookstore” in the city. With the publication in 1773 of ...

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Alden, Henry Mills (11 November 1836–07 October 1919), editor and author, was born in Mount Tabor, Vermont, the son of Ira Alden, a farmer, and Elizabeth Packard Moore. Alden grew up in a working-class family in rural Vermont and in the manufacturing town of Hoosick, New York, where he worked from dawn until eight o’clock at night as a “bobbin boy” in a cotton factory. With only a sporadic common school education, Alden, at the age of fourteen, decided to prepare for college by entering Ball Seminary, where he performed chores to pay for his tuition. In 1852 Alden graduated valedictorian from Ball Seminary and entered Williams College the next year....

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Allen, Paul (15 February 1775–18 August 1826), editor and poet, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Paul Allen, Sr., a Rhode Island state representative, and Polly Cooke, the daughter of a governor of that state. In 1793 he graduated from Brown University (then Rhode Island College), where he displayed talent as an orator. Several of his orations were published, the earliest being a eulogy on a classmate delivered on 22 November 1792. Allen studied law but never practiced; indeed, most sources follow ...

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Samuel Willard Crompton

Appleton, Daniel (10 December 1785–27 March 1849), publisher, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Appleton and Lydia Ela. He grew up in modest circumstances, but he seems to have formed a talent for organization at an early age. He opened a general store in Haverhill in 1813. That same year he married Hannah Adams of Andover, Massachusetts; the couple eventually had six sons and two daughters. Appleton moved both his business and family to Boston in 1817, where he opened a wholesale dry goods store on 21 Broad Street, featuring “English goods.”...

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Appleton, William Henry (27 January 1814–19 October 1899), publisher, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Appleton, a store owner and publisher, and Hannah Adams. He ended his schooling at the age of sixteen and entered his father’s store in New York City (the family had moved to Boston in 1817, then to New York in 1825). Appleton came of age at a time when his father was just giving up his store to become a bookseller and publisher....

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Bailey, Francis (1735–1815), printer and journalist, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Bailey and Margaret McDill Barley, farmers. Bailey was apprenticed to Peter Miller, printer at Ephrata, at an early age, and by the time he began publishing the ...

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Bailey, Lydia R. (01 February 1779–21 February 1869), printer, was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Captain William Steele and Elizabeth Bailey. The Steele family was landed gentry, and William Steele, his father, and his brothers served with distinction in the American Revolution. The brothers Steele established a paper mill in Lancaster County after the war, and William also was a prothonotary and a shopkeeper. Elizabeth Bailey was a sister of the printers ...

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Barrett, Benjamin Fiske (24 June 1808–06 August 1892), pastor, writer, and publisher, was born in Dresden, Maine, the son of Oliver Barrett, a carpenter, and Elizabeth Carlton. Young Benjamin was anxious to obtain an education and took delight in mastering his preparatory studies. Through his own labor he was able to attend Bowdoin College, graduating with a B.A. in 1832. Although not raised in any Christian denomination, Barrett became attracted to Unitarianism while in college. He subsequently attended Harvard Divinity School, graduating in 1838. He was ordained in the Unitarian church that same year and assigned to a parish at Syracuse, New York....

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Bartlett, John (14 June 1820–03 December 1905), editor, publisher, and lexicographer, was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the son of William Bartlett and Susan Thacher. Bartlett’s love of words manifested itself at an early age: at three years he was reciting verses from the Bible; by nine he had read it from cover to cover. Educated in Plymouth’s public schools, he left school at the age of sixteen. Soon after, he took a job at a bookbinding company that was then associated with the University Book Store serving Harvard University in Cambridge. His copious memory and love of books soon had the university faculty and students using him as a ready reference tool. “Ask John Bartlett” was the frequent answer to most questions. To help his memory, Bartlett began keeping a notebook of common phrases and quotations....

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Beach, Sylvia Woodbridge (14 March 1887–06 October 1962), bookstore owner and publisher, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the second of three daughters of Sylvester Woodbridge Beach, a Presbyterian minister, and Eleanor Orbison, an artist. Disinclined toward both religion and formal education, she often pleaded illness and eventually fled the Presbyterian parsonage of Princeton, New Jersey, for Europe. Beach spent 1907–1908 and 1911–1912 in Florence, 1914–1916 in Spain, and in midsummer of 1916 settled in Paris, where her father had served as associate pastor at the American Church from 1902 to 1905. Paris would remain her home until her death there forty-six years later....

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Beadle, Erastus Flavel (11 September 1821–18 December 1894), publisher, was born in Stewart’s Patent (now Pierstown), New York, the son of Flavel Beadle and Polly Turner, farmers. In 1833 Flavel Beadle moved his family to Kalamazoo County, Michigan. After two unsuccessful years of farming, the Beadles migrated back to their native New York, working odd jobs on farms along the way. Fourteen-year-old Erastus remained for several months as a farm worker in Fredonia, New York, where he was introduced to the town’s printer, from whom he learned the rudiments of the printing trade....

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Benét, William Rose (02 February 1886–04 May 1950), poet and editor, was born in Fort Hamilton, New York, the son of James Walker Benét, an army ordnance officer, and Frances Neill Rose. He attended the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University, graduating in 1907. While at Yale, Benét edited the ...

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Boni, Albert (21 October 1892–31 July 1981), publisher, was born in New York City, the son of Charles Boni, an insurance executive, and Bertha Seltzer. Educated at Harvard and Cornell Universities, he later conceived and executed some of the most creative publishing ventures of the twentieth century. In 1913 Boni, with his brother Charles, opened the Washington Square Book Shop at 137 McDougal Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, where many of the city’s bohemian artists often gathered. In a back room of the bookshop the following year, ...

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Bostwick, Arthur Elmore (08 March 1860–13 February 1942), editor and librarian, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of David Elmore Bostwick, a physician, and Adelaide McKinley. Bostwick took advantage of the cultural assets in his hometown, reading periodicals from a neighbor’s private library, studying romance and classical languages, participating in music ensembles, and attending the Episcopal church where his mother was organist. His innate intellectual abilities were thus stimulated, laying the foundation for an active life of the mind. He attended Yale College, won the first Silliman Fellowship in physical science, graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and earned a B.A. in 1881 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1883. Aspiring to a college professorship, he declined an appointment as a Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University in favor of a temporary position at Yale but, when a permanent post was not forthcoming, he moved to Montclair, New Jersey, where he taught high school from 1884 to 1886. In 1885 Bostwick married Lucy Sawyer, with whom he had three children....

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Bowker, R. R. (04 September 1848–12 November 1933), editor, publisher, and reformer, was born Richard Rogers Bowker in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Rogers Bowker, a manufacturer of barrel machinery, and Theresa Maria Savory. Although Bowker’s education began in Salem, the majority of it took place in New York City, where his parents moved in 1857 after the failure of a family business. He attended the College of the City of New York, becoming the editor of ...

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Bradford, Andrew (1686?–24 November 1742), printer and journalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Bradford, a printer and journalist, and Elizabeth Sowle, whose father, Andrew Sowle, was a printer in London. After being arrested and released for printing a pamphlet by Quaker apostate ...

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Bradford, John (06 June 1749–20 March 1830), first printer in Kentucky, was born in Prince William (later Fauquier) County, Virginia, the son of Daniel Bradford, a surveyor for Fauquier County, and Alice Morgan. He was one of eleven children in a family that probably also farmed. Bradford’s father taught him the craft of surveying. In 1771 John Bradford married Eliza James; they had five sons and four daughters....

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Bradford, William (20 May 1663–23 May 1752), first printer in Pennsylvania and New York, was born in Leicestershire, England, the son of William Bradford and Anne (maiden name unknown). Apprenticed to the London Quaker printer Andrew Sowle, Bradford became a Quaker and married his master’s daughter Elizabeth. Only weeks after their marriage in April 1685, the couple sailed for Pennsylvania with a letter from George Fox recommending Bradford as printer for the Society of Friends and the province. Some sources also say Bradford came with the specific endorsement of ...