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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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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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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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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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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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Brett, George Platt (08 December 1858–19 September 1936), publisher, was born in London, England, the son of George Edward Brett, a book salesman, and Elizabeth Platt. In 1869 his father moved with his family to New York City, accompanied by a cargo including the stock necessary to establish an agency for Macmillan & Co., Ltd., of London. He set up shop in a private home on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. Brett, who had attended school in London, continued his education in New York schools until he was sixteen. After that he went to work as an assistant in his father’s firm and soon became a city salesman....

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Brett, George Platt, Jr. (09 December 1893–11 February 1984), publisher, was born in Darien, Connecticut, the son of George Platt Brett, Sr., manager of the New York City branch of Mcmillan & Co. of London, and Marie Louise Tostevin. Although the family home was not far from New York, Brett was ten years old before he ever saw the city, which he immediately disliked. He attended the private Salisbury School in Connecticut and then the Collegiate School in New York. In the autumn of 1913 he began to work as a stock clerk in his father’s company. His first job was to remove nails from packing cases filled with books sent from London by the Macmillan firm there. For a few months in 1916 he tried being a salesman for Doubleday, Page and Company, a rival publishing house, but soon thereafter became a tradebook salesman for the Macmillan firm....

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Canfield, Cass (26 April 1897–27 March 1986), publisher and writer, was born in New York City, the son of Augustus Cass Canfield, an engineer and sportsman, and Josephine Houghteling. When Cass Canfield was eight years old, his father died; several years later his mother married Frank Jay Griswold, a sportsman credited with inventing the tuxedo, and Griswold took an active role in raising his stepson....

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Carey, Henry Charles (15 December 1793–13 October 1879), economist, publisher, and social scientist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Mathew Carey, an economist and publisher, and Bridget Flavahan. His father, an Irish patriot and political exile, also worked periodically in social science. Carey never received any formal education and instead was taught by his father. In addition, he read many of the books that made their way through his father’s publishing house, Carey & Lea (later known as Carey, Lea & Carey). In 1802 he went to work for his father, eventually becoming a partner and head of the firm, which was at the time the largest publishing and bookselling house in the country. Carey became the American publisher for Thomas Carlyle, Sir Walter Scott, and ...

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Carey, Mathew (28 January 1760–16 September 1839), publisher and economist, was born in Dublin, Ireland, the son of Christopher Carey, a prosperous baker, and Mary Sherridan, both Catholics. He was an avid reader but not a good student. He was taunted at school because of his lameness (the result of having been dropped by a nurse) and his small stature; for the rest of his life he was quick to take offense at any imagined slight to his dignity. In 1775 he was apprenticed to a bookseller who was also copublisher of the ...

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Cerf, Bennett Alfred (25 May 1898–27 August 1971), publisher and author, was born in New York City, the son of Gustave Cerf, a lithographer, and Frederika Wise, an heiress. Although Frederika had money that accrued from a parental trust fund, Gustave insisted that the family live modestly on his lithographer’s salary. When Cerf was in his teens, his mother died, shortly after giving birth to his sister, who also died. Consequently, sixteen-year-old Cerf became the sole beneficiary of his mother’s sizable trust fund of $125,000....

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Collier, Peter Fenelon (12 December 1849–24 April 1909), publisher, was born in Myshall, County Carlow, Ireland, the son of Robert C. Collier and Catherine Fenelon. With his family he immigrated to the United States at the age of seventeen. He began his education in the Irish countryside and continued at St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio. His parents had often urged him to join the priesthood, but at the age of twenty Collier left the seminary and settled in New York City, where he found work as a salesman with a publishing firm specializing in Catholic books....

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Cooper, Ezekiel (22 February 1763–21 February 1847), Methodist preacher and publisher, was born in Caroline County, Maryland, the son of Richard Cooper and Ann (maiden name unknown), whom he described as “plain people, in easy and plentiful circumstances of life.” He experienced a religious awakening the year of American independence after hearing a young Methodist preacher, ...

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Covici, Pascal Avram (04 November 1885–14 October 1964), book publisher and editor, was born in Botosani, Romania, the son of Wolf Covici, a vintner, and Schfra Barish. When he was twelve years old Covici, who went by “Pat,” immigrated with his parents and his sister to Chicago, where his six brothers owned half a dozen retail stores. He attended the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago but did not graduate from either and then worked as a manager of his brothers’ stores. In 1915 he married Dorothy Soll of Chicago; they had one son....