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Title: A Brief Account of the Educational Publishing Business in the United States

Author: William Edmond Pulsifer

Release date: October 13, 2015 [eBook #50200]

Language: English

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1 “The history of a nation,” one dictionary says, “is a systematic record of past events; especially the record of events in which man has taken part.”

The history of the educational publishing business in America is likewise a systematic record of past events in which man has taken part. The events of this history include the beginning, the development, and the wonderful improvement in books and book-making since 1691, and the men and women who have taken part in these events are authors and publishers.

Starr King, the eloquent preacher and orator whose powerful arguments in 1860 and ’61 aided mightily in saving California for the Union, was once riding on a very slow train from Boston to New York with a friend, who asked Mr. King if he were going to fill a New York pulpit on the following day, which was Sunday.

“No,” replied the great preacher, “I am not going to fill, but I am going to rattle ’round in Henry Ward Beecher’s.”

A comprehensive history of the American educational publishing business has never been prepared, although a number of writers have produced interesting and instructive books, booklets, periodical, magazine, and newspaper articles covering in some detail such portions of this history as engaged their attention. For instance, Dr. Meriwether and Professor Johnson have rather thoroughly and with reasonably satisfactory completeness given us an account of the schoolbooks of colonial times and of the clumsy and slow process of manufacturing and distributing them. They have described in considerable detail the gruesome text matter of these early books, and their ugly and almost ludicrous illustrations.

Ford has given us a most interesting and historically valuable account of the oldest American schoolbook, The New England Primer, prepared and printed by Benjamin Harris of Boston, the second edition appearing in 1691. This was printed 44 years after Massachusetts had passed a law requiring each town of fifty householders to “appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read.” Others have written of the first Arithmetic, prepared by Nicholas Pike of Newburyport, Mass., and printed in 1788; of the first American Geography, written by the Reverend Jedidiah Morse of Charlestown, Mass., and published at New Haven in 1784; of the first pedagogical and educational book, written by Christopher Dock, America’s pioneer writer on education, a second edition of which was published by Christopher Sower of Philadelphia in 1770. Much has been written concerning the2 world-famous Blue Back Speller, prepared by Dr. Noah Webster and printed at Hartford in 1793; of Peter Parley’s Geographies, the first of which was published in 1829. Dr. Henry H. Vail, formerly connected with the American Book Company, has written a most interesting history of the McGuffey Readers, of which the first two books of the four-book series were copyrighted in 1836 and the second two in 1837.

Then there have been published such books as The House of Harper, which gives the history of a business concern now more than a hundred years old; a most charmingly written biography of Henry O. Houghton, the founder of the house now known as the Houghton Mifflin Company; a memorial volume giving in some detail the story of the life and activities of Henry Ivison, of the old firm of Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor & Company; a book giving a rather complete account of several century-old business houses, including that of Christopher Sower & Company of Philadelphia; a volume entitled Fifty Years Among Authors, Books and Publishers, by J. C. Derby; Memories of a Publisher, by Major George Haven Putnam; a book on the Old Schools and School-books of New England, by George E. Littlefield, and a brochure published by G. & C. Merriam Company that gives us some interesting glimpses into the history of their business and of the men who have published and distributed to the world the famous Webster dictionaries.

There are also extant a great many valuable periodical, magazine and newspaper articles which set forth in some detail accounts of the founders of other nineteenth century publishing houses, which accounts, together with what has appeared in book form, make a rather inchoate but highly valuable mass of data that could and should be compiled and published as soon as a scholarly man of historical habit can be found to edit and prepare it for the press.

Having a knowledge of the facts just stated, you will agree with me when I say that a writer of a paper to be read in thirty or sixty minutes on a subject so broad in its scope and so important as the one assigned me, can’t do more than “rattle ’round” in its field, to quote Starr King’s figure. If he should try to do more, he would be tempting the Fates.

Realizing, as you must, how unsatisfactory the isolated and unrelated fragments of our history are, do you not feel, as do I, that this Association should take early steps to find a thoroughly competent man to prepare for the fraternity of educational publishers a complete history of their business in America from the day when The New England Primer was printed in Boston to the present time?

The attention of people is frequently called to the great march of progress since colonial days in all that helps to make the world a better place in which to live. It is truthfully said that both medicine and surgery have been perfected to such a high degree that the length of human life greatly has been increased; that sanitary science is so well understood,3 and its principles so generally practiced, that disease germs born in filth no longer exist in such abundance as in the days when, because of the ignorance or indifference of the majority of the population, food, air, and water carried these breeders of disease to their unhappy victims. We are reminded of the electric light, the telegraph, the wireless, the ocean cable, and the telephone; of the leviathan of the ocean—the great and palatial steamship that crosses the Atlantic in five days; of the aeroplane that has demonstrated its ability to fly across seas, oceans, and wide expanses of land, carrying passengers and mail at a speed almost inconceivable; of the transcontinental lines of railroad that transport people in comfort from ocean to ocean in six or seven days; of the splendid specimens of art housed in our great museums; of the beautiful homes, the really elegant school and college buildings, the great business structures planned by architects as skilled as any the world has produced since the days of the Greeks and the Moors; of the sewing machine, the reaper, the steam plow, the powerful motor truck, and the automobile; of the mighty steel bridges that span our wide rivers; and, in view of all this, we are told by the historian and the philosopher that the last century has been the Golden Age of the world, that all this has brought man a little closer to God, and God a little closer to man.

The twentieth century school or college textbook, and the means employed in making it, evidence a progress in the art of book-making and the character of the book made equally wonderful; for the modern educational publication differs in content and format from the textbook of the early days even more than the modern schoolhouse from the log cabin used a century or two ago to shelter the unfortunate youngsters who shivered and suffered therein while they were receiving such poor instruction as ignorant masters and dames could give them.

But there are a great number of people in this country, some of whom find their way into State, County, City, and Township Boards of Education, who cannot be made to believe that a textbook of this day and generation is very much, if any, better than the textbook of a century or even a half century ago. To their minds one book is practically as good as another, no matter whether modern or old. This, of course, is like saying that the ugly chromos that adorned (?) the walls of the parlors of country and many city homes fifty years ago were as useful and beautiful as works of art as the artistic, oils, etchings, and water-colors that one may now see commonly in the city and country homes of cultured people.

The New York Sun said editorially, May 16, 1915, “Advance in the United States in its schools and improvement in the textbooks have been as great as in any other phase of American life.” The New England Journal of June 24, 1909, said substantially the same thing in slightly different language, but in addition this: “The modern sewer system is no4 greater improvement over that of 1840 than the examples and problems contained in modern arithmetics over those printed as of that date.”

In what respects does the modern schoolbook differ markedly from its forebears of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth centuries? A careful examination and inspection of the new in comparison with the old convinces one that the new differs radically from the old in (1) content, including both text matter and illustrations; (2) typography and printing; (3) binding; (4) maps; (5) size; and altogether in its much greater attractiveness as an educational instrument.

Allow me to take a snapshot or two at some of the peculiar text matter printed in the American schoolbooks of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in order that I may more clearly emphasize the contrast between the new and the old. I pass over the text of The New England Primer with its

In Adam’s fall
We sinned all.
Zaccheus he
Did climb a tree,
Our Lord to see.


A dog will bite
A thief at night,

reminding you only that the bulk of the book was composed of extracts from the Bible, of hymns, and of moral teachings; that the backbone of this book—misnamed a primer, for it was not a primer at all as we now understand the term—was the Westminster Assembly’s Shorter Catechism, which Cotton Mather called “a little watering-pot to shed good lessons”; and lastly, that this primer was the only reader that children had until they were able to read the Bible. As dreadful as many of the doctrines taught in the Westminster Assembly’s Shorter Catechism were, Cotton Mather urged writing masters to set sentences from it to be copied by their pupils.

Comparing itself with this earliest American schoolbook, the modern primer might, in the language of Chaucer, say without being guilty of immodesty:

“O little booke, thou art so onconning,
How darst thou put thyself in prees for drede?”

George Fox, founder of the Society of Friends, published in 1674 a Primer in England. This was republished in Philadelphia in 1701, in Boston in 1743, and in Newport in 1769. The book was not much used except by Friends.

The text matter of Jonathan Fisher’s A Youth’s Primer, printed in 1817, followed closely the text of The New England Primer. It contained5 a series of short stories in alphabetical order, each followed by a religious, moral, or historical observation. The poor youngsters who were forced to read, day after day, from the pages of these early books, whose text matter was certainly lugubrious and distressing, were constantly reminded of death, the grave, a wrathful God, and a burning hell prepared for the wicked.

The text matter of the early Arithmetics, while not as gruesome as that of the Readers, was in many respects so peculiar as to be quite beyond the understanding of the twentieth century teacher. Allow me to call your attention to two or three of the puzzling things contained in “Old Pike,” as his Arithmetic was commonly known.

When tare and tret and doff are allowed:

Deduct the tare and tret, and divide the suttle by 168, and the quotient will be the cloff, which subtract from the suttle, and the remainder will be the neat.

These definitions will help you to understand the old terms:

Tare is an allowance, made to the buyer, for the weight of the box, barrel, or bag which contains, the goods bought.

Tret is an allowance of 4 lbs. in every 104 lbs. for waste, dust, etc.

Cloff is an allowance of 2 lbs. upon every 3 cwt.

Suttle is, when part of the allowance is deducted.

Neat weight is what remains after all allowances are made.

The following rule is another of Pike’s puzzles. This tells how to find the Gregorian Epact:

Subtract 11 from the Julian Epact. If the subtraction cannot be made, add 30 to the Julian Epact, then subtract, and the remainder will be the Gregorian Epact. If nothing remains, the Epact is 29.

You doubtless remember that an epact is the excess of the solar year over the twelve lunar months, or about eleven days.

In Walsh’s Mercantile Arithmetic, published in 1807, there is an example that certainly would not have pleased Neal Dow. This is the problem:

If 8 boarders drink a barrel of cider in 12 days, how long would it last if 4 more came among them?

I quote another problem that must surely have sent the distracted teacher to her dictionary for first aid to the tormented:

How much will 189 bazar maunds (a maund = 82.14 lbs.) 31 seer (a seer = 2.06 lbs.) 8 chattacks (a chattack = 1/16 of a seer, or 2 oz.) of sugar come to, at 6 rupees per maund?

One arithmetic maker, Jacob Willetts, of Poughkeepsie, set many of his problems in rhyme; for instance,

When first the marriage knot was ty’d
Between my wife and me,
My age was to that of my bride,
As three times three to three.
But now when ten, and half ten years
We man and wife have been,
Her age to mine exactly bears,
As eight is to sixteen;
Now tell, I pray, from what I’ve said,
What were our ages when we wed?
Ans.—Thy age, when marry’d, must have been
Just forty-five; thy wife’s fifteen.

Dillworth’s Schoolmaster’s Assistant, first published in London in 1774 and reprinted in Philadelphia in 1769, and considerably used in the colonies, contains two examples which the author called “Pleasant and Diverting Questions.” The first is as follows:

A farmer with a fox, a goose and a bag of corn has to cross a river in a boat so small that he can take only two of these three burdens with him at a time. How can he so handle matters that nothing will be destroyed, because he cannot leave the fox and the goose together, nor can he leave the goose and the corn.

The next was an example, the solution of which might possibly be of practical help to distressed husbands:

Three jealous husbands, each with a wife, meet on a river bank. How are they to cross so that none of the wives is left in the company of one or two men unless her husband is also present?

As poor, from our point of view, as most of these old Arithmetics were, George Washington cordially recommended Pike’s as “of great assistance to children desiring to learn the art of figuring.” The pages in many of these early books were printed like those in the Adams, a copy of which I am able to show you, issued in 1814 at Keene, N. H. The text matter, as you see, occupies but a small part of the page, the rest being left to be filled with the solutions of problems that the children had first worked out on smooth shingles, scraps of paper, or slates, and then copied neatly on the pages where the solutions belonged. All these printed books were, of course, a great improvement over the Master’s notebook of an earlier time, from which rules and problems were copied by the children, they not possessing a printed text.

Note.—(1) In the library of Mr. George Plimpton are more than 300 different Arithmetics printed before 1601, the largest collection ever brought together.

Note.—(2) These old arithmeticians are responsible for what we know as the one-sixth discount, for they advertised their books at, say, $10.00 the dozen, the single copy $1.00.

7 Note.—(3) They were the pioneers in collecting and printing before the prefaces of their books, as Adams did before his preface, complimentary testimonials of their books—a practice that the modern publisher would hardly dare to follow.

If the text matter of the early Readers was in many cases gruesome and distressing in its effect upon the youthful mind, and the explanations, rules, and problems in early Arithmetics were at times ludicrous and extremely puzzling, it is also the fact that much of the text printed in the first American Geographies was ridiculous because the writers frequently indulged their imaginations at the expense of geographical fact. Let me quote two or three examples showing how imagination played havoc with the truth. Dwight’s Question and Answer Geography, printed at Hartford in 1798, contains the following:

Q. What are the customs and diversions of the Irish?

A. There are a few customs existing in Ireland peculiar to this country; these are their funeral howlings and presenting their corpses in the streets to excite the charity of strangers, their convivial meetings on Sunday, and dancing to bagpipes, which are usually attended with quarreling.

Even the scholarly Morse, the author of the first Geography printed in the United States, indulges in some picturesque flights of imagination, as when he writes that the great men of the Friendly Islands “are fond of a singular kind of luxury, which is, to have women sit beside them all night, and beat on different parts of their body until they go to sleep; after which, they relax a little of their labour, unless they appear likely to wake; in which case they redouble their exertions, until they are again fast asleep.” A careful reading of Mariner’s Account of the Friendly Islands, a book published by John Murray & Sons in London in 1817, thirty-four years after Morse published his first Geography, reveals no account of any such custom, and Mariner lived in the Friendly Islands for a number of years.

Adams declares in his Geography, published in 1814, that “the White Mountains are the highest, not only in New Hampshire, but in the United States.” Of course he was speaking of the United States of 1814,—territory consisting of the original thirteen states and Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Louisiana, admitted at the time when Adams wrote his book,—but he evidently didn’t know that Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, the highest peak east of the Mississippi, is more than 400 feet higher than the mountain that bears Washington’s name.

If the geographers drew upon their imaginations when describing the physical features of the country, so also did the statesmen. That great apostle of democracy, Thomas Jefferson, sent a communication to Congress after the Louisiana Purchase, conveying what he considered good information about the new possession. The most curious statement in this strange8 document was about the mountain of salt. He informed Congress that this mountain was said to be 180 miles long, 45 miles wide, and all of white, glittering salt, with salt rivers flowing from cavities at the base. In all probability Lewis and Clark disillusioned Mr. Jefferson in 1806, when they returned from their trip to the Pacific coast and gave accurate descriptions of the country they had traversed.

The first English Grammar written in America was prepared by Professor Jones, a mathematical professor, as Dr. Chandler tells me, at William and Mary College. This book was written about 1703 and was printed in London. Only one copy of this grammar is now known, and that is contained in a London collection. Another book was prepared by Caleb Bingham, the first edition of which was printed in 1799. It was called The Young Lady’s Accidence. This was the first English Grammar used in the Boston schools. Its only predecessor used in this country was Part II of Webster’s Grammatical Institute.

Lindley Murray left his native country and settled in England in 1784. The following year he wrote and published in England his Grammar of the English Language. This Grammar was the standard textbook for fifty years throughout England and America.

The illustrations in the early schoolbooks were as bad or worse than the text matter. They were not only entirely lacking in artistic quality, but, worse than that, they frequently pictured horrible things that the child during his school day had constantly under his observation. What twentieth century publisher would dare to use illustrations in Readers, Geographies, or any other textbooks, picturing the burning of an unfortunate victim at the stake, a widow burning on the funeral pyre of her husband, or the bloody details of an Indian massacre? And yet these awful things are pictured in a Geography not yet a hundred years old.

Nearly all the books that appeared prior to 1840 were printed from type, for neither the stereotype nor the electrotype plate was in use before that time. Dr. Vail tells us that the early editions of the McGuffey Readers, copyrighted, as I have said, in 1836 and 1837, were so printed. The type impressions of the limited editions were clear and distinct for the most part. Whether these impressions would have been clear had as large and as many editions been printed from standing type as we now print from plates, is of course a matter of conjecture.

It is not necessary to remind you that publishers may to-day furnish a duplicate set of plates to any concern on earth desiring to reproduce one of their books, and that the book may be reprinted by the purchaser without the bother and expense of resetting the type; but the printer of the early days was not so fortunate, for if a concern in New York wished to reprint and sell a book originally printed in Boston, he was obliged to reset it, taking as copy the Boston production.

9 You remember that stereotyping was not perfected by Stanhope until 1800, and that stereotype plates were not used in the manufacturing of schoolbooks until a later date, but that they were commonly used before electrotyping came into general use about 1860, though the Harpers used electrotyping in 1840 to duplicate wood cuts; that wood engraving was used in Europe in 1830, but much earlier in China; that copper engraving was used as early as 1450; that steel engraving was invented by Perkins, of Newburyport, Mass., in 1814; that the three-color process plate was first made by Frederick Ives of Philadelphia in 1881, but that the development of color work in schoolbooks has been within the last forty years.

You recall the fact that the Adams or flat press was largely used until 1875; that the first flat-bed cylinder press used in America was a Napier brought from England in 1825; that in 1860 William Bullock began to experiment on a rotary self-feeding or web printing press, and finally achieved success in 1865. The web rotary press, as we know, can turn out about ten times as much work in a given time as the flat-bed cylinder press. Considering the fact that many millions of textbooks are now printed annually, requiring the service of high power rotary presses to print their sheets in season for use, is it not indeed fortunate for the educational world that human skill has perfected such a really wonderful instrument as this great machine, so splendidly equipped for the accomplishment of this gigantic task?

The binding of books until a comparatively recent date was entirely done by hand. The process was so slow that only a few books could be bound in a day, even by the largest establishment. Folding machines were not used by binders until 1875, rounding and backing machines until about 1888, sewing machines and case-making machines until about 1890, gathering machines until about 1895, casing-in machines until about 1900. It is well known to you that a modern bindery in which up-to-date machinery is installed is able to produce per day from 20,000 to 60,000 three-hundred-page sewed books of octavo size. It is therefore evident that there has been as wonderful an improvement in the method of binding books in the last century as in the method of printing them, and that the output of a modern bindery is now so enormous that it would have made the heads of the early hand binders dizzy just to think of it.

The New England Primer was, of course, bound by hand. Its covers were of thin oak that cracked and splintered badly with use, in spite of the coarse blue paper that was pasted over the wood. The back was of leather. Neither back nor sides had any printing on them. Yet, despite its ugly appearance, this book has had a sale of at least two million copies since Harris first printed it in or before 1691.

The binding of the old Blue Back Speller until 1829 consisted of back of leather and sides of thin oaken boards pasted over with a dull10 blue paper. “Blue paper of a somewhat brighter tint,” says Johnson, “was used on the later editions, which gave rise to the name Blue Back.” This book, as you know, has enjoyed a sale larger than that of any other schoolbook ever made in this or any other country—a sale which Mr. Appleton has recently told me has reached the stupendous figure of sixty-four millions of copies.

Adams’ Arithmetic, which I have shown you, you observe was covered with leather pasted over a very thin pasteboard. It had no headbands, and its sheets were stitched by hand. Leather binding on the larger books, Dr. Vail tells us, persisted for a number of years after the beginning of the nineteenth century. This gentleman informs us that the First Reader of the original McGuffey series made a thin 18mo book of 72 pages, having green paper covered sides.

Peter Parley’s Method of Telling About Geography, published in 1829, was a thin, square little book with leather back and flexible pasteboard sides. His National Geography, published in 1845, was the earliest to take the large, flat quarto shape. This form enabled it to include good-sized maps and do away with the necessity for a separate atlas.

Cover designs were not used until quite late in the nineteenth century, and of course books whose covers bore no designs of any sort were far less attractive than those bound to-day.

In 1874, under the direction of Mr. James McNally, of Rand McNally & Company, that concern began the publication of atlases, pocket and large wall maps. In 1872, the Company had introduced the then new relief line engraving process for making maps—a process which revolutionized the methods of that day and cut the cost of production by several hundred per cent. Maps that can now be bought for from 25 cents to $1.00 each used to cost, under the old method of map making, all the way from $5.00 to $10.00 apiece. The modern map, well and thoroughly made, records faithfully every fact concerning the surface of the earth now known to man, and there is very little about it that scholarly geographers do not now know. In addition to the modern map’s accuracy, it is as much more attractive than its forebears to the eye as the beautiful color pictures now used in textbooks are seen to be when compared with the muddy wood cuts that appeared in schoolbooks a century or more ago.

It is not necessary for me to speak in such a presence as this of the contents of modern schoolbooks in order to point out how vastly superior in every respect they are to the contents of books of the earlier days. It would be a work of supererogation for me to comment at length, for instance, upon the character of the literature now included in reading books, or to note the scientific work that is now commonly done in the preparation of one of the most difficult books to prepare, namely, the primer, whose text matter and vocabulary are so splendidly adapted to the capacity of the young child, and whose illustrations picture his pets,11 his toys, his games, his playmates, and other things with which he is thoroughly familiar. I asked a literary friend to pick out a half dozen of the choicest selections of literature that he knew in modern readers. He replied as follows:

“Even a cursory survey of modern school readers soon reveals that no period in the whole world’s literature has been neglected as a source of selection. We have majestic passages from the Bible, Shakespeare, Milton, Bacon, and Bunyan. The later centuries of English literature afford the names of Sir Walter Scott, Wordsworth, Shelley, Browning, Dickens, Thackeray, and on to Tennyson and Stevenson. The early classic American period contributes freely from Longfellow, Lowell, Emerson, Thoreau, and Irving, and our early patriots and philosophers like Washington, Patrick Henry, Franklin, and Lincoln, live to-day in the school readers. Even our modern authors have their place. James Whitcomb Riley, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Joel Chandler Harris, and a score of others are no strangers to the child who has in his possession a school reader of the present day. If these were not enough, we have occasional excursions into the Greek and Roman myths, and for the little people touches of the fascinating German and Scandinavian folklore.

“Most wonderful of all, however, is the skill of the editors and publishers of these modern readers in selecting from this world-wide galaxy of authors just the particular poem, tale, or episode that the childish mind can assimilate and digest, and thus be left not only with an introduction to these famous authors, but better yet with a desire to know more of them.”

Recently it was my pleasure to examine the illustrations in a set of modern school readers. I found in them a number of pictures beautifully done in color, copied from some of the masterpieces of world-famous artists, as, for instance, The Age of Innocence, by Reynolds, The Blue Boy, Gainsborough, The Melon Eaters, Murillo, Portrait of a Man, Franz Hals, King David, Rubens, Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci, The Tapestry Weavers, Velasquez, The Architect, Rembrandt, as well as many others made from drawings cleverly done by artists of manifest ability. The pictures in this series of readers were evidently selected with as much care as the text, which contained selections of high literary value.

“If I were asked,” said James Russell Lowell, “what book is better than a cheap book, I should answer that there is one book better than a cheap book, and that is a book honestly come by.”

Prior to the enactment of state copyright laws, the first of which was passed by Connecticut in 1783 and the last of which were enacted by Georgia and New York in 1786, and the passage of a national copyright law by Congress in 1790, literary property had no protection whatever against piracy. Printers could help themselves ad lib. to books of12 all kinds turned out by other printers. Dr. Noah Webster, realizing the danger to an author arising from such piracy, labored diligently for many years to secure the enactment of a copyright law. He pleaded that the Constitution of the United States authorized Congress to “promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

Previous to the adoption of the Constitution in 1787, the nation had no power to act, but on Madison’s motion Congress in May, 1783, recommended the states to pass acts securing copyright for fourteen years. Dr. Webster traveled from state to state, urging members of legislatures to secure the passage of copyright laws in their states, and some thirteen states did pass such laws prior to the national act; but when Congress finally took action in the matter, Webster’s work was done. It was to his great advantage and that of all authors who have produced books subsequent to 1790 that a national law preventing the stealing of literary property was passed. To Noah Webster and his successful work in securing the enactment of a national copyright law, the literary world owes a great debt.

The international copyright bill passed Congress March 3, 1891, thanks to the diligent and unceasing labors of Mr. W. W. Appleton, the present President of the Copyright League, Major George Haven Putnam, its Secretary, and Robert Underwood Johnson.

It is my hope that this brief and most incomplete historical sketch will convince us afresh of the truth of such almost axiomatic statements as that made in the New York Sun in 1915, namely, that the advance in the United States in textbooks has been as great as in any other phase of American life. Large credit is due both to authors and to publishers for this really wonderful advancement, for both have keenly realized the truth of Disraeli’s epigram which declared that “the youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity,” and have labored diligently to place in the hands of this youth books sound in their pedagogy, accurate as to facts, inspiring in their influence, and as attractive as possible in their appearance, to the end that these trustees of posterity may be sent from the schools full armed to cope successfully with ignorance, foolish and dangerous theories concerning religious and political life, and all other evils that now or in the future may menace our civilization.

The immortal Milton declared that “a good book is the precious life blood of a master spirit.” It has been and will continue to be the happy privilege of the publisher to clothe the good book of the master spirit in a style befitting its character, and to place it within the reach of those who should have its message. That the educational publisher is doing that work with much greater skill now than at any time during the past two centuries is manifest; that he will, as time grows apace, do it increasingly better, who can doubt?



Allow me to close this paper by giving a brief record of the organization of the houses now engaged in educational publishing, mentioning the titles of some of the earlier textbooks produced. In this brief record I have considered the history of these houses in chronological sequence rather than in alphabetical order, beginning with the earliest American house engaged in textbook publishing.


—Christopher Sower (Saür), the founder of this house, issued in 1733 as his first venture in publishing, a schoolbook entitled Ein A B C und Buchstabier Buch. In 1747 he published a German and English Grammar; in 1750, The Golden A B C, or the School of Knowledge in Rhymes (English translation of German title); in 1771, The New England Primer, Enlarged. Although he began publishing in German, he was soon printing in both German and English, and he issued from six to twelve books a year until his death. His most important educational publication was Die Schul-Ordnung, written by Christopher Dock, a remarkable schoolmaster in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. This is known as the first American treatise on school teaching.

In 1758 Christopher Sower was succeeded by his son, Christopher Sower, 2nd, and he by his son, Samuel. In 1799 another son, David, Sr., took charge of the business. In 1842 Charles G., son of David, Jr., succeeded his father. In 1888, 150 years after the founding, the firm was incorporated as the Christopher Sower Company, with Charles D. Sower as President. In 1910 the officers were: Albert M. Sower, President; James L. Pennypacker, Vice President; Daniel B. Hassan, Secretary and Treasurer.


—This business began as a retail store started by Ebenezer Battelle in Boston in 1784. Four years later the concern issued its first book and became a publisher in the strict sense of the word. From 1784 to 1913 there was a succession of partners entering and leaving the organization, and in the early days the name of the house was changed frequently, according to the changes in partnership. The name of Little & Brown was adopted in 1830, when James Brown and Charles C. Little owned the business. James Brown may more truly be called the founder of the present house than any other one man. In 1898 Little, Brown & Company absorbed the successful publishing firm of Roberts Brothers of Boston, thereby securing a large14 miscellaneous line, including the works of Louisa Alcott. In 1913 the house was incorporated as Little, Brown & Company, Inc., without change in the personnel of the organization.

The present educational enterprise of this company was started in May, 1904, and the first two schoolbooks of the present list were a school edition of The Man Without a Country, and the series known as the Wide Awake Readers. Little, Brown & Company are known as the publishers of Bancroft’s History of the United States, also of Daniel Webster’s works.


—This firm was founded in 1792 in Einsiedeln, Switzerland, by Joseph Charles Benziger. In 1883, he was succeeded by his sons, Charles and Nicholas Benziger.

In 1853, the New York house was founded. J. N. Adelrich Benziger, a son of Charles, and Louis, a son of Nicholas, took charge of the New York house. The American firm is now entirely independent of its parent house in Switzerland. In 1860 a branch house was opened in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1880, Nicholas C. Benziger became a partner. His father, Nicholas, was a partner in Einsiedeln, and was the son of Nicholas mentioned above. In 1887, a branch house was opened in Chicago. In 1894, Louis G. Benziger, son of Louis, became a partner, retiring in 1914. In 1912 Xavier N. Benziger, and in 1919 Bernard A. Benziger, both sons of Nicholas C., became partners.

This firm has been publishing schoolbooks since 1860. From 1874 to 1877 the Gilmour Readers were published. The Catholic National Readers were brought out in the years 1889–1894. The New Century Catholic Readers were issued from 1903 to 1905. The house has also published a History of the United States in two volumes, an Elementary Geography, Advanced Geography, and two series of Arithmetics.

The present partners of the firm are Nicholas C. Benziger and his sons, Xavier N. and Bernard A. Benziger.


—Mr. Young, the present President of this organization, writes:

“The records of the family tree of the Sanborn publications go back into the eighteenth century. The predecessors of the present concern appear to have been in the textbook business from the beginning, and to have specialized in English grammars. The earliest trace we have is of the publication of Staniford’s Short but Comprehensive Grammar Rendered Simple and Easy by Familiar Questions and Answers Adapted to the Capacity of Youth. This was printed by Mannering & Loring, of Boston, January, 1797. Later came The Elements of English Grammar by Adoniram Judson in 1808. Following Mannering & Loring came the firm of Loring & Edmunds. They were the publishers of Lindley Murray’s Grammar. Following Loring & Edmunds came Robert S. Davis,15 then Robert S. Davis & Company, then Leach, Shewell & Sanborn, and now Benj. H. Sanborn & Company.

“In addition to the Lindley Murray Grammar, one of the notable achievements of the predecessors of Benj. H. Sanborn & Company was the publication of the Greenleaf Arithmetics. The first contract for these books goes back to 1832. Greenleaf, by the way, a Maine teacher, sold the copyright of his first book for $10,000 in gold. This was more money than Greenleaf had ever seen before in his life, and he at once took the boat to Boston to deposit it.”


—Charles Wiley established the business in 1807. John Wiley came into it as a clerk in 1820 and continued until 1890. He had associated with him at various times George Palmer Putnam, Mr. Long, and Robert Halsted. The concern became John Wiley & Sons in 1865. Major William H. Wiley entered it in 1875, and W. O. Wiley in 1890. The house was incorporated in 1904.

The first educational publication was a History of the United States, which was issued by the founder of the house just after the War of 1812, and contained an account of that war. The first technical book was published in 1819, entitled A View of the Lead Mines of Missouri, by Henry R. Schoolcraft.


—This house was founded in 1817 by John Harper, Wesley Harper, James Harper, and Fletcher Harper. Harper & Brothers began to publish educational books in 1836, the title of their first publication being Professor Anthon’s Classical Series. Some of their most notable educational books are the Harper Geographies, Harper’s United States Series of Readers, Harper’s Arithmetics, Rolfe’s Shakespeare, Swinton’s Language Books, Green’s Short History of the English People, Harper’s Greek and Latin texts. In 1890 or thereabouts, the American Book Company bought the educational list of Harper & Brothers.

James Harper, the oldest brother of the original four Harpers, was elected Mayor of New York City in 1844. He originated the idea of the magazine, and Fletcher, who was an unusually fine business man, the idea of Harper’s Weekly.


—Mr. Daniel Appleton, who was a dry goods merchant in Boston, moved and established himself in business in New York in 1825. He began the bookselling business at 16 Exchange Place by the importation of editions of English books. The bookselling business was soon carried on by Daniel Appleton’s eldest son, William H. Appleton. The first book published in this country by Mr. Appleton was a little volume entitled Crumbs from the Master’s Table, issued in 1831. William H. Appleton became a partner with his father in 1838, and the firm became D. Appleton & Company. In 1848, Daniel Appleton retired,16 and William H. and his brother, John A. Appleton, became partners in the business. Daniel Appleton died in 1849. His son, Daniel Sidney Appleton, became a partner in 1849, and later George S. Appleton and Samuel Francis Appleton, also sons of Daniel Appleton, became partners. D. Appleton & Company was incorporated in 1897. Mr. W. W. Appleton writes:

“I cannot give the exact time when educational books were first issued, but somewhat late in the 1830’s a number of such works were published, some of them in foreign languages—French, Spanish, and German—and in the 40’s several more were added. In the 1850’s the educational list became much more important and included Cornell’s Series of Geographies, Quackenbos’s standard textbooks, Perkins’ Arithmetics, Mandeville’s Readers, and a great number of educational books in the Spanish language. One of the most interesting publications was Noah Webster’s Elementary Spelling Book, which was originally issued in Hartford as the first part of A Grammatical Institute of the English Language. D. Appleton & Company secured the publication of Webster’s Speller in 1855, and it sold nearly a million copies a year up to the beginning of the Civil War.”


—The original firm of which this company was the successor was Truman & Smith, organized about 1834 by William B. Truman and Winthrop B. Smith. On June 2, 1834, this house published an Introduction to Ray’s Eclectic Arithmetic. It was the firm’s first schoolbook. Mr. Truman retiring, Mr. Smith carried on the business of educational publishing in the second story over a small shop on Main Street, Cincinnati. He was the sole proprietor of the McGuffey Readers and his other publications from 1841 until about 1852. He then admitted, as partners, Edward Sargent and Daniel Bartow Sargent, his wife’s brothers, and the firm name became W. B. Smith & Co.

Mr. Smith made an arrangement with Clark, Austin & Smith, of New York, to become the Eastern publishers of the McGuffey Readers, and a duplicate set of plates was sent to New York. From these plates, editions of the Readers were manufactured, largely at Claremont, N. H., bearing on the title page the imprint of Clark, Austin & Smith. The Smith of this firm was Cornelius Smith, a brother of Winthrop B. Smith.

Mr. W. B. Smith retiring, a new firm under the name of Sargent, Wilson & Hinkle was organized April 20, 1863, with Edward Sargent, Obed J. Wilson, and Anthony H. Hinkle as partners, and with W. B. Smith and D. B. Sargent as special partners. In 1866, Mr. Lewis Van Antwerp was admitted as a partner, and on April 20, 1868, the firm of Sargent, Wilson & Hinkle was dissolved. Mr. Sargent retired, and the new firm, Wilson, Hinkle & Co., bought all the assets. Mr. Caleb Bragg in 1871 became a partner in Wilson, Hinkle & Co. On April 20, 1877,17 the firm of Wilson, Hinkle & Co. was dissolved, and the business was purchased by the new firm, Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co., of which Lewis Van Antwerp, Caleb S. Bragg, Henry H. Vail, Robert F. Leaman, A. Howard Hinkle, and Henry T. Ambrose were the partners.

Mr. Van Antwerp retired January 22, 1890, just previous to the sale of the copyrights and plates owned by the firm to the American Book Company. The four active partners in that firm, each of whom had been in the schoolbook business some twenty-five years, entered the employ of the American Book Company. Mr. Bragg and Mr. Hinkle remained in charge of the Cincinnati business, Dr. Vail and Mr. Ambrose went to New York, the former as Editor-in-chief, the latter at first as Treasurer, but later he became the President of the Company.

The most notable books published by these several firms, preceding and including Van Antwerp, Bragg & Co., were McGuffey’s Readers and Speller, Ray’s Arithmetics, and Harvey’s Grammars.


—The business was started in 1831, but the publication of Webster’s Dictionary was not undertaken until 1843. The founders were the brothers, George and Charles Merriam, and the original copartnership style was G. & C. Merriam. In 1856 Homer Merriam joined the other brothers, with no change in the firm style.

In 1882 the firm name was changed to G. & C. Merriam & Company, and at that time Orlando M. Baker and H. Curtis Rowley were admitted to partnership. In 1892 the copartnership was changed to a corporation, styled G. & C. Merriam Company. George Merriam, one of the founders of the company, died shortly before 1882, and about that time Charles Merriam retired from the firm. Thereafter the active management of the business devolved upon Mr. Baker and Mr. Rowley. Later Mr. K. N. Washburn was made one of the Managers. Mr. Baker died in 1914, and at the present time the active management of the business is in the hands of Mr. Rowley, Mr. Baker’s two sons, A. G. Baker and H. W. Baker, and Mr. Washburn.

The original firm of G. & C. Merriam, shortly after becoming established in 1831, began publishing educational books in a small way. The first of these publications seem to have been a series of school readers, The Child’s Guide, Village Reader, etc. For many years, however, and probably almost from the time that they acquired the rights in Webster’s Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam and their successors have confined their publications to the Genuine Webster Dictionaries.


—The founder of the business was Denis Sadlier, who organized a general Catholic publishing house in 1835. In 1841, James, the brother of Denis, was admitted to partnership, the firm name being D. & J. Sadlier & Co. Upon the death of the original partners, the firm was continued by James F., the son of Denis Sadlier.

18 In 1872, William H. Sadlier left the old firm and started a purely textbook publishing house. His first books were the Excelsior Geographies, followed shortly by the Excelsior Histories and Readers, and then a general line of Catholic textbooks. William H. Sadlier died in 1877 and the business was continued by his widow, Annie M. Sadlier, who still lives and who may rightfully claim to be the original business woman of New York. A law had to be passed in the Assembly permitting her to do business under her husband’s name. Mrs. Sadlier retired about ten years ago, and the business is now being conducted by her son, Frank X. Sadlier, of the third generation. The surviving textbooks of the original firm are now being published by the firm of William H. Sadlier, which is the lineal successor of the original firm of D. & J. Sadlier & Company.


—This firm was founded in 1837 by the late George Palmer Putnam, who was born at Brunswick, Maine, in 1814 and died in 1872. The London House was established in 1841. Some years after the death of Mr. George Palmer Putnam, the firm was changed into a corporation under the laws of the State of New York. Since 1880, the President of the corporation has been Major George Haven Putnam, who was born in London in 1844.

Educational books, that is to say, books for the use of higher grade students, have been included in the Putnam list, but common school books have not been included. The first book coming under the description of “educational” published by the house was The Tabular Views of Universal History, compiled in 1832 by the late George Palmer Putnam.

The present firm consists of Major George Haven Putnam, Irving Putnam, Sidney Haven Putnam, Edmund W. Putnam, and George Palmer Putnam, under the firm name of G. P. Putnam’s Sons.


—The business of this firm was begun by Mr. A. S. Barnes about 1837 at Hartford, Conn., but soon moved to Philadelphia, Pa., where the title of the firm was changed to A. S. Barnes & Burr, Mr. Burr being a brother-in-law of Mr. Barnes. A few years later the business was moved to 51 John Street, New York City. The name of Burr disappeared from the firm early in its New York days, and the title became A. S. Barnes & Company. After a few years at 51 John Street, the business was moved to 111–113 William Street, where it remained until 1890, when the textbook publications were purchased by the American Book Company. During the period between the establishment of the business in New York and 1890, Mr. Barnes took in as partners, in the order named, his son Alfred C. Barnes, Henry W. Curtis, Charles J. Barnes, a nephew, and Henry B. Barnes, Edwin M. Barnes, Richard S. Barnes, and William D. Barnes, all sons of A. S. Barnes. At the time of the sale of the business to the American Book19 Company, the partners of the firm consisted of the five sons of A. S. Barnes, and Charles J. Barnes of Chicago.

In 1837, Mr. A. S. Barnes published a series of mathematical books written by Professor Charles Davies. Other well-known publications of the house were Monteith’s Geographies, Barnes’ Histories, Parker and Watson’s Readers, Barnes’ Readers, Steele’s Science Series, and Maxwell’s Grammars.


—Mr. Merrill writes:

“It appears that the original house was founded by William G. Webster, a son of Dr. Noah Webster, author of the Dictionary, and Lucius E. Clark, a farmer’s son who was born at Washington, Conn., July 4, 1814. They began business under the name of Webster & Clark in 1842. A few years later Mr. Webster retired and Mr. Clark, associated with Jeremiah B. Austin of Wallingford, Conn., continued the business under the name of Clark & Austin. Soon afterward Cornelius Smith of W. B. Smith & Co. of Cincinnati became a partner and the firm name was changed to Clark, Austin & Smith. In 1859, Mr. Smith died and the firm was reorganized under the name of Clark, Austin, Maynard & Company, Effingham Maynard and Livingston Snedeker being admitted to partnership.

“The Civil War, beginning two years later, brought disaster to the firm. A large amount of money due from Southern customers was uncollectable and after a desperate struggle to hold over, a compromise with its creditors became necessary. After obtaining releases from creditors, the business was resumed in 1863 by Clark & Maynard, whose careful and efficient management enabled them in 1872 to pay in full, principal and interest, all the debts from which the firm of Clark, Austin, Maynard & Company had been released. Their most notable contributions to textbook publishing were the Anderson Historical Series and the Reed & Kellogg Grammars.

“Mr. Clark retired from business at the close of 1888, and Mr. Maynard, with Mr. Everett Yeaw of Lawrence, Mass., continued the business under the firm name of Effingham Maynard & Company. In 1893, the firm consolidated with that of Charles E. Merrill & Company, consisting of Charles E. Merrill and Edwin C. Merrill, the resulting organization being incorporated under the name of Maynard, Merrill & Company. Its officers were Effingham Maynard, Charles E. Merrill, Everett Yeaw, and Edwin C. Merrill. Mr. Maynard died in 1899. Mr. Charles E. Merrill bought the Maynard interest from the two sons of Mr. Maynard, and the name of the corporation was changed to Charles E. Merrill Company. In 1910 Mr. Yeaw, now the head of Newson & Company, retired from the organization, which was joined a few years later by Mr. Edwin W. Fielder. The present officers are Charles E. Merrill,20 President, Charles E. Merrill, Jr., Vice President, Halsey M. Collins, Secretary, and Edwin W. Fielder, Treasurer. These officers, with Harold S. Brown, are the directors.”


—Mr. Henry Ivison, a bookseller at Auburn, N. Y., came to New York City in 1846 and was admitted to the firm of Mark H. Newman & Company. In 1852, a new partnership for three years was founded under the firm name of Newman & Ivison, but the senior partner died before the end of the first year, leaving the business entirely in Mr. Ivison’s hands. Mr. Ivison later bought out the entire interest of the concern and took in as a partner H. F. Phinney of Cooperstown, N. Y., an experienced bookseller and son-in-law of J. Fenimore Cooper. In 1866, Mr. Phinney’s health failed and Messrs. Birdseye Blakeman, Augustus C. Taylor, and Mr. Ivison’s eldest son, David B., were admitted to the firm, which was continued under the name of Ivison, Phinney, Blakeman & Co. Subsequently, on the withdrawal of Mr. Phinney, the firm name was changed to Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor & Co. Mr. Ivison retired from the firm in 1881. In 1890, the business of this concern was purchased by the American Book Company.

In Ivison & Company’s Almanac for the year 1847 are found advertisements of Porter’s Rhetorical Reader, Newman’s Rhetoric and Elements of Political Economy, Day and Thomson’s Series of Practical Arithmetic, Sanders’ School Readers, Wilson’s Histories of the United States, Bradbury & Sanders’ Young Choir or School Singing Book, Gray’s Elements of Chemistry, and Hitchcock’s Elementary Geology.


—The business was founded in 1846 by Isaac D. Baker and Charles Scribner, under the firm name of Baker & Scribner. Later the organization became a partnership under the different names of Charles Scribner & Company, and Scribner & Armstrong. Mr. Charles Scribner died in 1871, and was succeeded by his eldest son, John Blair Scribner. Mr. Armstrong retired in 1878 and the business was then reorganized as a partnership under the firm name of Charles Scribner’s Sons, with John Blair Scribner as the head, the other partners being Charles Scribner and Arthur H. Scribner, sons of the founder. When John Blair Scribner died in 1879, Charles Scribner became the head of the business. In 1904, the corporation of Charles Scribner’s Sons was formed with Charles Scribner, President, and Arthur H. Scribner, Vice President, and that organization remains the same in 1921.

Among the earliest educational publications of the house are a treatise in physical geography entitled The Earth and Man, by A. Guyot, translated by C. C. Felton and published in 1849; Felter’s Arithmetics, 1864; Guyot’s Wall Maps, 1865; Perry’s Elements of Political Economy, 1865; Guyot’s Geographies, 1866; Porter’s Human Intellect, 1868; Cooley’s Chemistry,21 1869; Cooley’s Natural Philosophy, 1871; Cooley’s Physics Experiments, 1871; Hopkins’ Outline Study of Man, 1873.


—This firm originally was Lippincott, Grambo & Company, founded in 1850, and later became J. B. Lippincott Company. The present Lippincott who is the head of the concern is the son of the original founder, J. B. Lippincott.

Some of the old-time schoolbooks published by J. B. Lippincott Company were Comly’s Speller, Sanford’s Arithmetic, Cutter’s Anatomy, Wilson’s Readers, and Webster’s Speller. In 1876, the firm purchased from Brewer & Tileston of Boston the entire rights in Worcester’s Dictionary. The House has published in this country Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Hume’s and Macaulay’s Histories of England. It also projected Lippincott’s Magazine in 1867, issuing the first number in January, 1868. Its first editor was Lloyd Smith, the librarian of the Philadelphia library.


—In 1850, Daniel Lothrop and his brothers, John and Henry, formed a partnership known as D. Lothrop & Company for the publishing of books in Dover, N. H. Their early publications were mostly juvenile, and largely for use in Sunday School libraries. A little more than ten years later, the business was removed to Boston, and later incorporated as D. Lothrop Company. After the death of Daniel Lothrop, the business was reorganized in 1891 as the Lothrop Publishing Company, and so continued until 1904, when all its assets were purchased by Lee & Shepard.

The Lothrop house published a great many books of educational value, like Gilman’s Historical Readers, in three volumes, and Miss Cyr’s Interstate Primer and First Reader. Their most important educational book was Finger Plays, by Emilie Poulsson, of which 110,000 copies have been sold.

The firm of Lee & Shepard was founded in Boston in 1861 by William Lee, who had previously been a partner of Phillips Sampson & Company, a Boston publishing house which went out of existence in the 50’s, and Charles A. B. Shepard. Mr. Shepard died in 1889, and Mr. Lee continued as sole partner until June, 1898, when he transferred his entire business to E. Fleming & Company, book binders, who continued the business by placing it in charge of Warren F. Gregory.

Lee & Shepard were general publishers and, like D. Lothrop & Company, had strong lines of juveniles which were much used in school libraries. Of their distinctively educational books, the most successful were King’s Picturesque Geographical Readers, in six volumes.

In 1904, the owners of Lee & Shepard purchased the entire assets of the Lothrop Publishing Company, and incorporated the combined houses under the style Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company. Mr. Gregory,22 the Manager of Lee & Shepard, was elected General Manager and has held that position since. Among its most important works used educationally, in addition to those mentioned above, are the True Story Series, the U. S. Service Series, the translation of Froebel’s Mother Play, with Music, and books for younger readers.


—Mr. Smith Sheldon of Albany, N. Y., organized a firm which began business in New York City in 1853 at 115 Nassau Street. He was soon joined by Mr. Birdseye Blakeman, who afterward became a member of the firm of Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor & Company. In 1857 Isaac E. Sheldon, eldest son of Smith Sheldon, became a partner, and subsequently Isaac Shailor entered the firm. Mr. Shailor was killed a few years later in his barn by a stroke of lightning. This must have been in the early 70’s, and about that time Mr. Sheldon’s younger sons, Alexander E. Sheldon and William D. Sheldon, were made members of the firm.

Some time in the 60’s Mason and Hamlin, the organ people, sold to the Sheldons their schoolbooks, such as the Stoddard Mathematics, Haven’s and Wayland’s Philosophies, and other standard books. Sheldon & Company had branched out into almost all classes of publication, including novels, autobiographies, religious books, hymn books, schoolbooks, etc., and in addition published what was known as the Galaxy Magazine. In 1877, the house decided to make a specialty of schoolbooks, and gave up its other lines of publication. Among the school and college textbooks which they brought out were Olney’s Mathematics, Avery’s Science Series, Hill’s Rhetorics, Logic and Psychology, Shaw’s Literature, Sheldon’s Word Studies, Sheldon’s Modern School Readers, and Patterson’s Grammars.

In 1891, the firm was incorporated under the name of Sheldon & Company, with Isaac E. Sheldon as President and Joseph K. Butler as Secretary and Treasurer. The following year they purchased the business of Taintor Brothers. Later the house of E. H. Butler & Company was merged with Sheldon & Company, there being included in E. H. Butler & Company the firm of Cowperthwait & Company of Philadelphia, and a Pittsburgh firm, the name of which I think was H. I. Gurley & Company. Isaac E. Sheldon died about the first of July, 1898, and E. H. Butler was made President, the firm becoming Butler, Sheldon & Company. On January 1, 1903, the business of Butler, Sheldon & Company was purchased by the American Book Company and its books added to the list of that concern.


—In 1859 Mr. William H. Rand was operating a job printing business at 148 Lake Street, Chicago. About that time his plant was consolidated with the job department of the Chicago Tribune. In 1862, Mr. Andrew McNally, who had been in partnership23 with Mr. John Collins in the printing and stationery business on North Clark Street, sold his interest and purchased a partnership in the Tribune job office. He became superintendent of the business. In 1864, Rand and McNally bought out the Tribune interest in the job printing, and founded the copartnership of Rand McNally & Company. The Company was incorporated in 1873. The present President of the concern is Mr. H. B. Clow.

Rand McNally & Company has been known as map makers, book publishers, atlas makers, bank publishers, ticket manufacturers, creators of map systems, and other specialties. It has published the Dodge Geographies, the Mace Histories, and a number of other large selling educational books.


—In 1866, the copartnership of Frederick Leypoldt and Henry Holt was formed under the style of Leypoldt & Holt. From the start they were merely publisher and not retailers or printers. In 1871, H. O. Williams was admitted to the firm; Mr. Leypoldt soon withdrew, and the firm name was changed to Holt & Williams. Two years later Mr. Williams retired and the business was continued as Henry Holt & Company. Charles Holt, a brother of Henry Holt, was an active partner from 1878 to 1903, when the house became a stock company with Henry Holt as President, Roland Holt, Vice President, Edward N. Bristol, Secretary, Joseph F. Vogelius, Treasurer. In 1919, Mr. Vogelius resigned after more than fifty years’ connection with the house.

The firm’s first educational venture occurred in 1867, when the foreign language publications of S. R. Urbino and DeVries, Ibarra & Company of Boston were taken over. These two lists included the Otto French and German Grammars and some sixty French and German texts. Most of these same texts still appear in Henry Holt & Company’s list, though not in the form first issued. In 1869, the firm began what was practically its first original enterprise in the educational field when it issued Whitney’s German textbooks, starting with his German Reader, and following shortly with his Compendious German Grammar. In 1879, the American Science Series was begun with Packard’s Zoology. The announcements included James’ Psychology, Walker’s Political Economy, and Martin’s The Human Body. In the same year the first of Johnston’s books, American Politics, appeared. These books represent the earlier development of Henry Holt & Company’s educational business.


—This house was founded in 1867 by Edwin Ginn. He began business at No. 3 Beacon Street, Boston, and soon admitted as a partner Mr. Aaron Lovell, afterward the head of the house known as A. Lovell & Company of New York. Mr. Ginn’s next partner was Mr. R. F. Leighton, the author of Leighton’s Latin Lessons, then Mr.24 Frederick Ginn, Edwin Ginn’s brother. Later Mr. Daniel C. Heath and Mr. George A. Plimpton were admitted to the firm, Mr. Heath in 1876 and Mr. Plimpton in 1880. The firm was then known as Ginn & Heath. In 1885 the partnership was dissolved, Mr. Heath retiring. The business was continued by Edwin Ginn, George A. Plimpton, and Frederick Ginn under the firm name of Ginn & Company. Since then there have been admitted at different times as members of the firm, Thomas Ballard, Justin H. Smith, Lewis Parkhurst, O. P. Conant, Ralph L. Hayes, Selim S. White, Thomas W. Gilson, Fred. M. Ambrose, Austin H. Kenerson, Henry R. Hilton, Richard S. Thomas, C. H. Thurber, T. B. Lawler, Dana W. Hall, Selden C. Smith, O. J. Laylander, F. C. Hodgdon, E. A. DeWitt, L. B. Robeson, Mark R. Jouett, Jr., J. W. Swartz, LeRoy J. Weed, Edward H. Kenerson, Norman C. Miller, and H. B. Conway. Of this number there are now eighteen surviving partners.

Mr. Edwin Ginn died in 1914. Of the other partners who have been admitted, Mr. Conant, Mr. Gilson, Mr. White, and Mr. Kenerson, Sr., have crossed the Great Divide. Mr. Justin H. Smith retired from the firm to enter the faculty of Dartmouth College. Mr. Ballard, Mr. Hayes and Mr. Ambrose also retired.

The first educational book that Mr. Ginn published was Craik’s The English of Shakespeare. This was followed by Goodwin’s Greek Grammar, the Allen & Greenough Latin Series, White’s Greek Lessons, and a course of Grade School Music Readers by Luther Whiting Mason. This series was early introduced into the Boston schools and for some time was the standard series of school music in America.

The Boston offices of Ginn & Company have been at Tremont Place, Beacon Street, in the old John Hancock house, and are now at 15 Ashburton Place.

The prototype of the Athenæum Press was started by Ginn & Company in the early 80’s. The building which now houses this establishment is located in Cambridge, and was erected in 1896.


—Mr. John Allyn began business in 1868. He imported and published a line of books, chiefly Greek, but in 1886 he issued Pennell’s Histories of Greece and Rome, Comstock’s First Latin Book, and Kelsey’s Caesar. In 1888 Dr. George A. Bacon joined Mr. Allyn in equal partnership. Dr. Bacon had been, before he entered business, the principal of the Syracuse High School. Shortly after the partnership was formed, the house purchased Walker’s Physiology from A. Lovell & Company, but the book had already been in existence for some time. Both Mr. Allyn and Dr. Bacon are still living and carrying on their business.



—This company was organized July 21, 1870, by Roswell Smith and Josiah G. Holland. It is a corporation. Mr. Smith was the first president; he was succeeded by Frank Scott, he by W. W. Ellsworth, and he by Dr. W. Morgan Shuster, who is at the present time in office.

Strictly educational publications were first brought out in 1904, Fetter’s Principles of Economics being the first volume to appear. Failor’s Plane and Solid Geometry, Forman’s Advanced Civics, Smith’s Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry, and Thorndike’s Elements of Composition and Rhetoric were published shortly afterward.


—The founder of Funk & Wagnalls Company was Dr. Isaac Kauffman Funk, who established the business in 1876 with The Metropolitan Pulpit, now The Homiletic Review. Some months later he was joined by Adam W. Wagnalls, and the two entered into partnership, forming the business of I. K. Funk & Company. These two men were joined in 1879 by Mr. Robert J. Cuddihy.

In 1891, Funk & Wagnalls Company was organized with Dr. Funk as President, Adam W. Wagnalls, Vice President, Robert J. Cuddihy, Treasurer and General Manager. William Neisel joined the staff of the publishing house in 1883, and was appointed head of the Manufacturing Department. In 1884, Dr. Funk founded The Voice and in 1890, The Literary Digest. Edward J. Wheeler joined the staff as editor of The Voice in 1884, and in 1895 became editor of The Literary Digest, which position he held until 1905, when William Seaver Woods became editor.

The idea and plans of the Dictionary originated with Dr. Funk, whose first managing editor was Dr. Daniel Seeley Gregory. The Standard Dictionary was projected in 1890 and completed in 1893. Dr. Funk was editor-in-chief of all the publications of Funk & Wagnalls Company, and in his work on the Standard Dictionary was assisted by Dr. Rossiter Johnson, John Denison Champlin, Dr. Francis A. March, Sr., and Dr. Arthur E. Bostwick. The New Standard Dictionary was projected in 1909, and was issued under the editor-in-chiefship of Dr. Funk, with Calvin Thomas as consulting editor, and Frank H. Vizetelly as managing editor, 1903–1913, editor of the same since 1914. The abridgments of the Standard Dictionary were produced under the general editorship of Dr. Funk, by Dr. James Champlin Fernald, Frank H. Vizetelly, and others.

The office of Secretary has been held, sometimes in addition to other offices, by the following persons: Robert J. Cuddihy, 1891–1898; Henry L. Raymond, 1898–1904; Robert Scott, 1904–1913; Wilfred J. Funk, 1913–1915; and William Neisel, 1915 to the present time.

Following the death of Dr. Isaac K. Funk in 1912, Dr. Adam W. Wagnalls was elected President of the Company; Benjamin Franklin26 Funk, Vice President. On the death of Benjamin Franklin Funk in 1914, Wilfred J. Funk became Vice President and William Neisel, Secretary.

The editorial policy of Funk & Wagnalls Company is directed by the Executive Committee, under the guidance of the General Manager, Robert J. Cuddihy. The Manager of the Educational Department is Mr. Wilfred J. Funk.

Inclusive of the Dictionary and its abridgments, the first educational books published by the Company were Fernald’s English Synonyms, Antonyms, and Prepositions and his Connectives of English Speech.

Of the firm’s publications circulated most widely in the schools, The Literary Digest takes first rank. It maintains an educational service among 15,000 teachers and circulates in more than 10,000 schools.

In 1904, Francis Whiting Halsey became literary adviser of the Company and editor of the book department of The Literary Digest. Under his supervision were produced: Great Epochs in American History, Seeing Europe with Famous Authors, and with the assistance of William Jennings Bryan, World’s Famous Orations, and in conjunction with Henry Cabot Lodge, Best of the World’s Classics. Mr. Halsey died, November 24, 1919.

The officers and the principal editors of the Company are: President, Dr. Adam W. Wagnalls; Vice President, Wilfred J. Funk; Treasurer and General Manager, Robert J. Cuddihy; Secretary, William Neisel; Homiletic Review, Editors: George Gilmore, Robert Scott; Literary Digest, Editor: William Seaver Woods; Standard Dictionary, Managing Editor, Frank H. Vizetelly.


—This firm was organized and began publishing schoolbooks about 1878. In 1888, Mr. J. A. Lyons became associated with Mr. O. M. Powers in the publication of commercial texts. The firm name was Powers & Lyons. They continued to publish commercial books until 1909, when J. A. Lyons purchased the interest of O. M. Powers and continued to do business under the firm name of J. A. Lyons & Co. In 1912, J. W. Carnahan purchased an interest in the business, and the firm name was changed to Lyons & Carnahan. Mr. Lyons died in November, 1920, and Mr. Carnahan was elected President of the new corporation which was organized under the same name of Lyons & Carnahan.

Since 1912 the house has been engaged in the publication of both common and high school books.


—This firm was established about 1880 by Mr. H. O. Houghton and Mr. George H. Mifflin, with whom were associated Mr. M. M. Hurd and Mr. L. H. Valentine. They took over, either at that time or a little later, the business of various Boston publishers, namely, Ticknor & Fields, Hurd & Houghton,27 Houghton, Osgood & Company; Fields, Osgood and Company, James R. Osgood & Company, and Ticknor & Company. Some of these firms were first merged together and then with Houghton Mifflin Company, but practically all this took place before 1882. Ticknor & Company, however, became united with the business a little later.

The Educational Department of Houghton Mifflin Company was established in 1882 through the efforts of Horace E. Scudder and Henry N. Wheeler, encouraged by Mr. Henry O. Houghton, Sr. There were then published Colburn’s Arithmetic and certain Latin books, but Mr. Scudder had the idea that the great masterpieces of American literature, such as Evangeline, The Vision of Sir Launfal, Snow-Bound and other similar great classics which had recently come into the control of the firm, should be made available in cheap editions for school use. He became the general editor of the Riverside Literature Series which was then established, and which was pushed with vigor and energy by Henry N. Wheeler. Early in the 90’s the Department developed with the publication of Fiske’s History of the United States, Fiske’s Civil Government, and various collections of literature such as Masterpieces of American Literature. This necessitated further expansion and an office was opened in Chicago under the management of C. F. Newkirk, who was later succeeded by W. E. Bloomfield.

In 1902 J. D. Phillips, who had previously been connected with the Editorial Department of the house, was transferred to the Educational Department to do both agency and editorial work, and the Webster-Cooley Language Series was soon published.

Mr. Scudder died in 1902 and Mr. Wheeler in 1905, and the Department came under the management of Mr. Phillips and Mr. Davol. Franklin S. Hoyt, formerly Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Indianapolis, was invited in 1906 to join the firm and take charge of the editorial end of the work. The organization then established has remained practically unchanged until now. Henry B. Dewey, former Commissioner of Education of the State of Washington, is now manager of the Boston office of this Company.


—This concern is the successor of B. F. Johnson & Company, which was organized some time in the 80’s to develop a subscription book business founded by Benjamin Franklin Johnson in 1876. The business grew to enormous proportions and at one time the books published by this concern were to be found in almost every house in the South.

In 1895, the Company began to experiment in a small way with schoolbooks, beginning with Lee’s Advanced History. Two years later it published Johnson’s Primer, and this was soon followed by Johnson’s Readers. The success of these experiments led to a reorganization of28 the Company by Mr. Johnson in 1900, when the subscription book business was dropped and the house began to devote itself exclusively to schoolbooks. The first publications of the reorganized company were Graded Classics Readers and Colaw and Ellwood’s Arithmetics in 1900, both of which series were remarkably successful.

In 1902, Mr. Johnson was succeeded in the presidency by James D. Crump, who held the position until 1920, when he was succeeded by A. J. Gray, Jr. The Company has recently been reorganized by Mr. Gray to meet the demands of its extraordinary growth and to provide for further development on an enlarged scale.


—This business was founded by Mr. Edgar O. Silver, April 21, 1885. On September 21, 1886, the firm of Silver, Rogers & Company was organized, M. Thacher Rogers being admitted to partnership. This partnership was succeeded by the partnership of Silver, Burdett & Company, April 16, 1888, consisting of Edgar O. Silver, Elmer E. Silver, Henry C. Deane, and Frank W. Burdett, and on May 2, 1892, the business of the partnership was assumed by the corporation of the same name. Mr. Edgar O. Silver died in November, 1909. In 1910, Arthur Lord was elected Acting President, and in 1914 Haviland Stevenson was made President of the Company.

The date of the first publications of this house was 1885. Among its earliest books were the Normal Music Course and other music books for schools, Farley and Gunnison’s Writing Books, Todd and Powell’s Readers, Stowell’s Physiologies, and Larkin Dunton’s Geographical Readers. For two or three years after its organization in 1885, the house devoted itself almost entirely to the publication of music books for the common and high schools. In 1890, the policy of the house was changed and the list broadened to cover the other subjects in the school curriculum.

Silver, Burdett & Company purchased the business of Potter & Putnam about 1903, and in 1904 that of the Morse Company, adding the lists of these houses to their own.


—This house was founded in 1886 by Daniel C. Heath, whose first office was in Tremont Place, Boston. The name chosen by Mr. Heath for his firm was D. C. Heath & Company, which name has continued until this day. Mr. Heath’s first partner was Charles H. Ames, who was admitted to the firm in 1888. His second was William E. Pulsifer, who joined the Company in 1889. Dr. Winfield S. Smyth, who had been Ginn & Company’s Chicago manager, was taken into the firm of D. C. Heath & Company in 1893. In 1895, the partnership sold its business to a corporation organized in that month, of which Mr. D. C. Heath was made President, Dr. Winfield S. Smyth, Vice President, William E. Pulsifer, Treasurer, and Charles H. Ames, Secretary. Mr. Heath died in January, 1908, and Dr. Smyth in August, 1908.

29 After Mr. Heath’s death his trustees, Herbert C. Foss and E. G. Cooley, who for some time had been Superintendent of Schools in Chicago, carried on the business for two years, when Mr. Heath’s stock was purchased by William E. Pulsifer, Winfield S. Smyth, Jr., W. H. Ives, James C. Simpson, Isaac Van Houten, Frank F. Hummel, and others who bought a few shares of the common stock. In 1910 the corporation elected as its officers, William E. Pulsifer, President, W. H. Ives, Vice President, Winfield S. Smyth, Treasurer, and Charles H. Ames, Secretary. Mr. Ives soon retired and in September, 1911, Mr. Ames died. The present officers of the Company are William E. Pulsifer, President, James C. Simpson, Vice President, Winfield S. Smyth, Treasurer, and Frank F. Hummel, Secretary. Mr. S. Willard Clary was the editor-in-chief of the Modern Language Department for twenty-seven years, and Dr. Charles Henry Douglas has been the editor-in-chief of the general list since 1895.

When Mr. Heath retired from the firm of Ginn & Heath, he was paid for his interest partly in cash and partly in books. Among the publications which he received from the Ginn & Heath list were Remsen’s Organic Chemistry, Shaler’s First Book in Geology, Ybarra’s Practical Method in Spanish, Sheldon’s Short German Grammar, Hall’s Methods of Teaching History, and Mitchell’s Hebrew Lessons. There were altogether twenty-four bound books and several manuscripts, including those prepared by Mary Sheldon. Mr. Heath’s first publications were Sheldon’s Studies in General History, the Joynes-Meissner German Grammar, and several French and German texts purchased from English and Scotch publishers and republished by him.

D. C. Heath & Company has acquired by purchase from Leach & Shewell and added to its list the Wells Series of Mathematics for secondary schools and colleges, a number of Latin texts and textbooks from the University Publishing Company, Thomas’s History of the United States from a Friends’ Society known as The Text-Book Association of Philadelphia, Bancroft’s School Gymnastics from Kellogg & Company of New York, Bowser’s Algebras, Geometries, and Trigonometries from Van Nostrand & Company, and the American rights in what is now known as the Arden Shakespeare from Blackie & Son, Limited, of Scotland.


—The American house of Longmans, Green & Company was founded September 15, 1887, by Mr. C. J. Mills. Its business is incorporated under New York State law. The London house began business in 1724. The only change that has been made in the personnel of the Company on this side of the Atlantic was the admittance to the firm of Mr. Mill’s son, E. S. Mills.

The publication of schoolbooks by the American house was begun in 1890. The first of these books were Epochs of American History, a series of three volumes edited by Professor A. B. Hart of Harvard. Woodrow30 Wilson is the author of one of the volumes. This well-known series was quickly followed by Longmans’ English Classics, Longmans’ English Grammar, etc.


—This house was founded in 1889 under the firm name of Albert & Scott. The business was originated and carried on for several years by Mr. E. H. Scott. In 1894, Mr. H. A. Foresman purchased an interest in the concern and shortly afterward the publishing business of George Sherwood & Company, with all its stock and publishing rights, was taken over. At that time the corporation name was changed to Scott, Foresman & Company. In 1896, W. C. Foresman bought an interest in the business and became Treasurer of the Company. The same year the publishing business of S. C. Griggs & Company was purchased, and all rights and stock were transferred to Scott, Foresman & Company. In 1908, R. C. McNamara became a stockholder and Secretary of the Company. In 1912, Charles E. Keck became a stockholder and manager of the Eastern office.

Scott, Foresman & Company began publishing educational books in 1889, the first being a beginner’s Latin book, Bellum Helveticum, and the second, Lowe and Ewing’s Caesar.


—On June 14, 1890, an announcement was made by the American Book Company as follows:

“American Book Company, Incorporated, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago. Birdseye Blakeman, President; Alfred C. Barnes, Vice President; Harry T. Ambrose, Treasurer; Gilman H. Tucker, Secretary. Directors: Caleb S. Bragg, Chairman; William H. Appleton, William W. Appleton, Daniel Appleton, Alfred C. Barnes, Charles J. Barnes, Henry B. Barnes, Birdseye Blakeman, George R. Cathcart, A. H. Hinkle, David B. Ivison, Henry H. Vail.

“The American Book Company is a stock company incorporated under state laws for the purpose of carrying on the manufacture and sale of books. The American Book Company has purchased the schoolbook publications hitherto issued by D. Appleton & Company, A. S. Barnes & Company, Harper & Brothers, Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor & Company of New York, and Van Antwerp, Bragg & Company of Cincinnati. The company is organized in the interest of economy in the production and sale of schoolbooks, etc.”

Mr. Birdseye Blakeman served as President from April, 1890, until May, 1893. He was succeeded by David B. Ivison, who served as President until 1896. Harry T. Ambrose was President of the Company from 1896 until 1914, when L. M. Dillman was elected to that office. Mr. Blakeman died October 9, 1894, and Mr. Ivison, April 6, 1903.

General A. C. Barnes served as Vice President from 1890 until his31 death in 1904, when he was succeeded by Dr. Henry H. Vail. He in turn was succeeded by the present Vice President, A. Victor Barnes.

Mr. Ambrose served as Treasurer of the Company until he was elected President in 1896, when Charles P. Batt, the present Treasurer, succeeded him. Gilman H. Tucker was Secretary of the Company at its organization in 1890, and remained as such until his death, November 14, 1913. He was succeeded by John Arthur Greene, who died in 1917. The present Secretary is W. L. Billmyer.

Dr. Henry H. Vail was Chief of the Editorial Department at the organization of the Company, and held that position until his resignation in 1909, when he was succeeded by Russell Hinman. Mr. Hinman died in 1912, when Mr. G. W. Benton was made Editor-in-Chief and is still serving in that position.

Since its organization, the American Book Company has taken over by purchase the schoolbook properties of the following houses: Werner School Book Company, Chicago; Standard School Book Company, St. Louis; D. D. Merrill, St. Paul; Cowperthwait & Company, Philadelphia; Taintor Brothers & Company, New York; E. H. Butler & Company, Philadelphia; Western School Book Company, Chicago; Sheldon & Company, New York; Williams & Rogers, Rochester; the elementary list of the University Publishing Company, New York.


—This house was established in 1890, the founders being Alonzo Schwartz, James J. Kirwin, and Denis C. Fauss. In 1893, Mr. Schwartz retired on account of ill health, and the business continued under the direction of Mr. Kirwin and Mr. Fauss.

In 1898, this firm purchased the business of the Catholic School Book Company, taking over its entire list. That company, in turn, was the successor of the Catholic Publication Society, established originally by the Paulist Fathers in 59th Street, New York, with Mr. Lawrence Kehoe as the manager.

Among the earliest publications of the house were The Young Catholic’s Illustrated Readers, Deharbe’s Catechism, Gazeau’s Histories, Edward’s Hygiene, Hassard’s Histories, Farrell’s Spellers, and the Columbus Series of Readers, by Dr. William T. Vlymen, which series had already been contracted for and the first book published by the Catholic School Book Company, when Schwartz, Kirwin & Fauss purchased their list and completed the series.

The offices of this firm are located at 42 Barclay Street, New York, with Mr. Kirwin and Mr. Fauss still in charge of the business.


—This organization is an outgrowth of Gregg Shorthand, first published by John R. Gregg in Boston, October, 1893. In 1896 Mr. Gregg moved to Chicago, where he established a school and continued to publish his system. In 1907, the32 publishing business was incorporated as the Gregg Publishing Company, and is owned by Mr. Gregg, with the exception of the few shares held by others to comply with the legal requirements. In 1907 Mr. Gregg moved to New York, where he established an Eastern office. The San Francisco office was opened in 1912, the Boston office in 1919, and in 1920 an office was established in London. At the present time the executive officers are: John R. Gregg, President; Mrs. J. R. Gregg, First Vice President; Rupert P. SoRelle, Second Vice President; W. F. Nenneman, Secretary-Treasurer; Hubert A. Hagar, General Manager.

Beginning with shorthand, an extensive line of publications in that subject was developed, to which were added textbooks in other commercial subjects. In addition to its two magazines, the list of publications of the Gregg Publishing Company at the present time comprises more than one hundred titles.


—In January, 1896, an American branch of the Oxford University Press opened offices at 91–93 Fifth Avenue, New York, under the management of John Armstrong, with whom were associated W. W. McIntosh, W. F. Olver, and C. C. Schepmoes. In 1897, the Branch took over from The Macmillan Company the publications of The Clarendon Press. In 1915, Mr. Armstrong died. He was succeeded by W. W. McIntosh, the present Vice President and General Manager. Mr. W. F. Olver, the first Treasurer of the Company, died in 1919 and was succeeded by Isaac Brown. Mr. C. C. Schepmoes became Secretary at that time.

The first schoolbook manufactured and published by the Oxford University Press in this country was Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell, edited by Sphoenfeld, which was issued in 1902. The concern publishes the Oxford English, French, and German Series. In 1918, the Branch added a Medical Department, which handles all the medical publications of Henry Frowde and Hodder & Stoughton of London.


—Mr. George P. Brett, the present President, with the proprietors of Macmillan & Company, Ltd., London, the people who had been interested in the agency of Macmillan & Company previously operating in the United States, undertook the organization of the corporation, The Macmillan Company, in this country in 1896. Mr. Brett has been the President of the American corporation since that date.

There have been several heads of the Educational Department. It was organized first under the direction of Dr. F. L. Sevenoak, who gave a part of his time to this work, the balance being devoted to teaching. He was succeeded by James R. McDonald, who filled the position until the fall of 1902, when he was succeeded by William H. Ives. In 1906 Mr. Ives was succeeded by F. C. Tenney, who filled the position until July,33 1912. At that time A. H. Nelson became the head of the Educational Department and held the position until July, 1920, when Charles H. Seaver, who now occupies it, succeeded Mr. Nelson.

School textbooks were published in America by Macmillan & Company before the time when The Macmillan Company was formed as an American corporation, the records showing the publication of Hall and Knight’s Elementary Algebra and Algebra for Beginners in 1895, Tarr’s Elements of Physical Geography in 1895, and Channing’s Student’s History of the United States in April, 1896. Immediately following the establishment of the American corporation, there was published Miller’s Trigonometry in 1896, and in 1897 the following books appeared: Tarr’s High School Geology, Nichols’ High School Physics, Lewis’s Writing English, Tarr’s First Book in Physical Geography, McLellan and Ames’ Arithmetic, Hall and Knight’s Algebra for Colleges and Schools, Davenport’s Elementary Economics, Murche’s Science Readers. The McLellan and Ames Arithmetic and the Murche Science Readers were the first textbooks published for elementary grades. The Macmillan Company first undertook the work of publishing books for that field in the fall of 1897.


—This Chicago concern was organized in 1897 by Mr. W. H. Wheeler. In 1898 W. C. Fidler purchased an interest in the Company. Some years later, E. E. Wheeler, son of W. H. Wheeler, was admitted to the firm, as was also John H. Pugh. These four men are still active in the business.

The first books published by this house were Wheeler’s Graded Studies in English, First Lessons in Grammar and Composition. These were followed a little later by Wheeler’s Graded Primer.


—This concern was incorporated under the laws of the State of New York, July, 1900. Mr. Henry D. Newson was its first President. He was succeeded in that office by Mr. Everett Yeaw, the present President, in April, 1912. Mr. Newson severed all relations with the Company on January 1, 1920.

Newson & Company immediately on its organization began the publication of educational books, the first of which was Buehler’s Modern English Grammar, the original of the present Revised Edition, published in 1914.


—The house was established in 1905 by Casper W. Hodgson. “It was really founded,” Mr. Hodgson writes, “in the Philippine Islands, a little farther west or east than any other American house has started.” The first office was in Manila, but soon another was established at Park Hill, Yonkers, N. Y.

The first books issued were six Philippine publications. The World Book Company now does a considerable business not only in the Philipine34 Islands, but also in the United States and Latin America. O. S. Reimold and M. A. Purcell have been connected with the business almost from its beginning. M. J. Hazelton, who joined the Company in 1908, has been the Philippine representative of the house. Professor John W. Ritchie has given his full time to the organization since 1915.

The titles of the first educational books published for use in American schools are Ritchie’s Human Physiology, and Wohlfarth-Rogers’ New World Spellers.


—This firm was organized in February, 1906. R. K. Row was made President and Isaac Peterson, Secretary-Treasurer. A few years later Charles D. Kennedy and J. R. Sparks purchased stock in the Company and were made directors, Mr. Kennedy becoming Secretary. In 1914, B. E. Richardson purchased stock and became Vice President. In 1919, Mr. Peterson died and Mr. Kennedy was made Secretary-Treasurer.

The first books were published in the spring of 1906. These included Robbins and Row’s Studies in English, Salisbury’s The Theory of Teaching, Frazier’s The National Speller, Hatch and Haselwood’s Elementary Agriculture, and Hurty’s Life with Health.


—This organization was started on July 1, 1909, with John A. Hill, President, and James H. McGraw, Vice President. After Mr. Hill’s death in 1916, Mr. McGraw succeeded him as President, which position he still holds.

At the time of the formation of this Company in 1909, when the Book Departments of the McGraw Publishing Company and the Hill Publishing Company were consolidated, the combined lists totaled perhaps 200 books. In ten years this list has grown to approximately 1000 titles. Some of the most notable publications of the Educational Department of the McGraw-Hill Book Company are Dr. Cady’s Inorganic Chemistry, Dr. Norris’ Principles of Organic Chemistry, Dr. Moore’s History of Chemistry, Dr. Mahin’s Quantitative Analysis, a series of Electrical Engineering texts prepared under the general supervision of Dr. H. E. Clifford of Harvard University, a series of books on Scientific Management and Efficiency, under the general direction of Dr. R. S. Butler, formerly of the University of Wisconsin, a series of mathematical texts, including Slichter’s Elementary Mathematical Analysis, Wolff’s Calculus, Allen’s Projective Geometry, and a series of successful books for trade schools and apprentice classes, under the general direction of F. E. Mathewson of the Dickinson High School, Jersey City, N. J.

The present officers of the McGraw-Hill Book Company are: James H. McGraw, President; Martin M. Foss, Vice President and General Manager; Arthur J. Baldwin, Vice President; Edward Caldwell, Treasurer; James S. Thompson, Secretary.



—This house was established in 1838 by Samuel Merrill. The business has continued in unbroken succession since that time, under several different firm names, being first Merrill & Company, then Merrill & Field, Merrill Hubbard Company, Merrill Meigs & Company, The Bowen-Merrill Company, and in 1903 the firm name became The Bobbs-Merrill Company.

In 1909 a set of educational readers was added to the general line of publications of this house. As publishers of law books, The Bobbs-Merrill Company ranks among the leading houses of the country.

The present officers of the corporation are: W. C. Bobbs, President; John R. Carr, Vice President; D. L. Chambers, Secretary.


—The founder of this Philadelphia concern was Mr. John C. Winston, who was its directing head until May 6, 1920, when he died.

The Company began work in the preparation of schoolbooks in 1913, but the business end of the Educational Department was not inaugurated until March, 1918. The first books published by this Company were the Winston Series of Readers, the Young American Readers, the Winston Simplified Dictionary, and two books on civics, Our Community and Our Neighborhood.


—This Company was incorporated under the laws of the state of New York on July 15, 1915, with E. F. Southworth as President and H. W. Duguid as Secretary. Mr. Southworth was for many years connected with Ginn & Company.

During the first year the Company brought out a list of twelve books. This list increased until on February 1, 1921, it contained more than fifty titles.


—This firm was incorporated in 1868 under New York State law. Prominent among the promoters and original stockholders of the Company were Horace Greeley, August Belmont, W. H. Aspinwall, G. B. Hallgarten, W. R. Travers, Eugene Kelly, J. B. Alexander, Richard L. Edwards, and many others of New York. In Baltimore, Robert Garrett & Sons, brokers controlling the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, A. S. Able of the Baltimore Sun, C. H. Latrobe, at one time Mayor of Baltimore, John Hopkins, W. T. Walters, owner of the once famous Peach Blow Vase, were stockholders. Jefferson Davis and Joseph E. Johnson subscribed for stock, and Dr. Howard Crosby, the famous divine of New York, was an enthusiastic supporter. General John B. Gordon was interested in the Company and was for many years a director and Vice President of the concern.

The educators agreed upon as authors of the new books were all university men, and this fact gave its name to the Company. The list of36 authors included Dr. Basil L. Gildersleeve of Johns Hopkins University, Matthew F. Maury, author of The Physical Geography of the Sea, Dr. George F. Holmes, Charles S. Venable of the University of Virginia, and Professor William Hand Brown. Of the books published, Maury’s Physical Geographies and Gildersleeve’s Latin Grammar at once took their places as standard authorities.

Early in 1873, Ezra D. Barker was elected General Manager by the directors. He supervised the revision of Holmes’ Readers and Spellers, Maury’s Primary and Grammar School Geographies, and Venable’s Arithmetic.

In 1888, Mr. C. L. Patton cast his fortune with the Company and came to New York as the Manager of the Agents’ Introduction Department. In 1892, Mr. Patton reorganized the Company, which took over the plates and publishing rights of the J. B. Lippincott schoolbook list, also a list of books published by F. F. Hansell & Brother of New Orleans.

On the 31st of December, 1906, the directors of the Company decided to go into voluntary liquidation. In this liquidation the grammar school books were sold to the American Book Company, Gildersleeve’s Latin Series to D. C. Heath & Company, Eadies’ Physiologies to Charles Scribner’s Sons, and the Standard Literature Series and all remaining publications to Newson & Company.


—This firm was organized in 1898 under the name of Hathaway & Atkinson. At the end of the year Mr. Hathaway withdrew and the firm’s name became Atkinson & Mentzer. In 1899, the firm published its first book, namely, the Ivanhoe Historical Note Book. In 1904, Mr. Edwin Osgood Grover joined the organization and the firm name was changed to Atkinson, Mentzer & Grover. The first book published under this imprint was the Art Literature Primer. In 1911 Mr. Grover severed his connection with the firm, which from that time on has done business under the name of Atkinson, Mentzer & Company.

The writer regrets to state that he has not been able to get authentic data for historical accounts of the old firms of Brewer & Tileston and William Ware & Company of Boston, J. H. Butler & Company, E. H. Butler & Company, and Cowperthwait Company of Philadelphia, or Taintor Brothers of New York. There has not been included in this record several of the younger houses like the Southern Publishing Company of Texas and the University Publishing Company of Nebraska. It is also a fact that there has been no attempt to secure the records of the old printing houses, which were not publishers as we understand the meaning of the term.

Transcriber’s Note:

Variations in spelling and punctuation, and the use of italic have been retained as they appear in the original publication except as follows: