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Tag Archives: Profiles in Publishing

Profiles in Publishing: Sir Allen Lane

Name: Sir Allen Lane Birthdate/Place: September 21, 1902. Bristol, England. Publishers Associated With: Penguin Books Claim to Fame: Sir Allen began his career at publishing company Bodley Head as an apprentice to his uncle, founder John Lane. After John Lane’s death, Allen changed his last name to Lane to retain control of the company– the original Lane had no children. Sir Allen conceived of paperback editions when he was traveling home from a meeting with Agatha Christie and he found himself on a train platform, stuck with nothing to read. […]

Profiles in Publishing: Ángela Ruiz Robles

Name: Ángela Ruiz Robles Birthdate/Place:  1895, Vallamanín, León, Innovator Associated With: World’s first “E”-Reader Claim to Fame: A teacher and a mother of three, Robles was teaching typing, shorthand and when she invented the “Mechanical Encyclopedia” in 1949, an analog precursor to current E-readers. She hoped to lighten the weight of books that schoolchildren had to carry to school everyday and make reading more accessible for everyone. However, due to Spain’s stagnant economy at the time, her innovation was not prioritized and never received the right funding to reach the market. Many historians still credit […]

Profiles in Publishing: Henry Holt

Name: Henry Holt Birthdate/Place: January 3rd, 1840, Baltimore, Maryland Publisher Associated With: Henry Holt and Company Claim to Fame: Holt graduated from Yale before entering Columbia Law School. He entered the publishing business with the late G. P. Putnam in 1863, another important figure in publishing and later a major figure behind the Penguin Group.  In 1866, Holt joined Frederick Leypoldt’s publishing company, the founder of publications like Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal. It later became Henry Holt and Company in 1873 when Leypoldt decided to devote himself to bibliographical work. Henry Holt and Company is […]

Profiles in Publishing: The Harper Brothers

James and John Harper, the two eldest Harper brothers, founded J & J Harper in 1817. They were joined by their two younger brothers, Joseph Wesley and Fletcher, in the mid-1820s. The house’s name was subsequently changed to Harper & Brothers. Their breakthrough title was Maria Monk’s Awful Disclosures, which detailed the sexual exploitation of a Catholic nun. After the success of this (admittedly, pretty dark) book, the oldest and the youngest Harper finished out their careers extremely differently. Name: Fletcher Harper  Birthdate/place: January 31, 1806, Newton, NY Publisher Associated With: […]

Profiles in Publishing: Bennett Cerf

Name: Bennett Cerf Birthdate/Place: May 25, 1898, New York, NY Publisher Associated With: Random House Claim to Fame: Cerf began his literary career by being named the vice president of publishing firm Boni & Liveright. He and his business partner, Donald Klopfer, purchased a Boni & Liveright imprint called the Modern Library in 1925. They increased the imprint’s popularity, and then began publishing their own books, selected at ‘random’, in 1927–hence the name, “Random House“. Random House eventually became a parent company of the Modern Library. Cerf and Random House worked with […]

Profiles in Publishing: Liz Calder

  Name: Liz Calder Birthdate/Place: January 20, 1938, London Publisher Associated With: Bloomsbury Claim to Fame: While she began her literary career at Cape, Liz Calder felt bigger things calling by the mid-1980s. She cofounded Bloomsbury, which remains one of the most successful independent publishing houses. And this remarkable woman seems to have quite the Midas touch when it comes to literature: she picked up the Harry Potter series, as well as edited Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981), Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac (1984), Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient (1992) and Margaret Atwood’s The Blind […]

Internviews: The End of the Road for Liz Janetschek

  Liz, our fantastic fall intern, bid us farewell last week. Like all our interns, we know she’s bound for great things. But before riding off into that promising professional sunset, we asked her to reflect a bit on what she’s gained (or uncovered) in the course of a not-quite-traditional publishing internship. Here’s what she had to say:     What specific tasks or projects completed across the semester do you feel were most valuable to your professional development? Writing online articles and managing our blog helped me professionally so […]

Profiles in Publishing: Sylvia Beach

Name: Sylvia Beach Birthdate/Place: March 14, 1887, Baltimore, Maryland Bookseller /Publisher Associated With: Shakespeare and Company Claim to Fame: American-born, Sylvia Beach first arrived in Paris at age 15, after her father Sylvester’s appointment as the assistant minister of the American Church in Paris. She moved back to America at age 18, but was unable to resist the pull of Europe, and soon moved back. Here, she discovered (her future partner) Adrienne Monnier’s bookstore, Maison des Amis des Livres. Inspired, Beach wanted to bring a branch of Monnier’s bookstore to New […]

Profiles in Publishing: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Name: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Birthdate/Place: July 28, 1929, Southampton, NY Publishers Associated With: Viking Press, Doubleday Claim to Fame: Jackie Kennedy is, quite obviously, most well-known for her position as First Lady from 1961-63 during the presidency of her husband, John F. Kennedy. However, after the death of her second husband, shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, Jackie was offered a position as a consulting editor at Viking Press by an old friend. She worked there for two years before resigning over a bit of a scandalous snafu–a book was published under her (which she claimed […]

Profiles in Publishing: Richard L. Simon and Max Schuster

Names: Richard L. Simon, Max Schuster Publisher Associated With: Simon & Schuster Claim to Fame: Richard Simon’s aunt noted that it was frustrating to wait until Sunday for crossword puzzles–there were no book-length collections of them available at that time. Simon and his business partner, Max Schuster cornered an untapped area of the market for gaming books, publishing the first editions of Coue, Bananas, Mah Jong, and the 1st crossword puzzle book. Simon and Schuster also originated the ideas for returning unsold copies of books to publishers for credit, and founded Pocket Books, the first […]