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Abrams, Harry Nathan (1905-1979), publisher and art collector  

Anne F. Collins

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....


Aitken, Robert (1735-1802), printer and publisher  

Vincent Freimarck

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 ...


Alden, Henry Mills (1836-1919), editor and author  

Robert C. Kennedy

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....


Allen, Paul (1775-1826), editor and poet  

Steven E. Kagle

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 ...


Appleton, Daniel (1785-1849), publisher  

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.”...


Appleton, William Henry (1814-1899), publisher  

Samuel Willard Crompton

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....


Bailey, Francis (1735-1815), printer and journalist  

William F. Steirer

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 ...


Barrett, Benjamin Fiske (1808-1892), pastor, writer, and publisher  

David B. Eller

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....


Bartlett, John (1820-1905), editor, publisher, and lexicographer  

John J. Doherty

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....


Beadle, Erastus Flavel (1821-1894), publisher  

Randall C. Davis

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....


Benét, William Rose (1886-1950), poet and editor  

Lori J. Williams

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 ...


Boni, Albert (1892-1981), publisher  

Nathan L. Grant

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, ...


Bostwick, Arthur Elmore (1860-1942), editor and librarian  

John Mark Tucker

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....


Bowker, R. R. (1848-1933), editor, publisher, and reformer  

Francesco L. Nepa

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 ...


Bradford, Andrew (1686?–24 November 1742), printer and journalist  

Raymond A. Craig

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 ...


Bradford, John (1749-1830), first printer in Kentucky  

Mary Kupiec Cayton

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....


Bradford, William (1663-1752), first printer in Pennsylvania and New York  

Charles E. Clark

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 ...


Bradford, William (1722-1791), author and printer  

Dennis Barone

Bradford, William (19 January 1722–25 September 1791), author and printer, was born in New York City, the son of William Bradford and Sytje Santvoort. He was the grandson of the printer William Bradford (1663–1752) of New York and Philadelphia. In 1739 young Bradford went into partnership in Philadelphia with his uncle ...


Brett, George Platt (1858-1936), publisher  

Robert L. Gale

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....


Brett, George Platt, Jr. (1893-1984), publisher  

Robert L. Gale

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....