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Dating Books First Editions Imprints Publishers Reprints


Appleton [1831-1965]:

Daniel Appleton began his publishing empire in 1831 with the issue of two books.  His book interests date back to 1813 when he ordered books from England to open a book department in his Massachusetts dry goods store.  When Daniel Appleton passed away in 1849, his four sons [William, John, George & Samuel] took over the publishing house.  They used the imprint "D. Appleton & Co." from 1838 through 1933.


In 1933, after over three years of negotiations, Appleton & Co. merged with Century Co. and adopted a new imprint "Appleton-Century" on their books.  This was maintained until another merger with F. S. Crofts in 1948.  The entire company was sold to Prentice-Hall in the 1960s.  Prentice-Hall was eventually acquired by Simon & Schuster in the 1980s.



Blue Ribbon Books [1930-1939]:

On April 17, 1930, the New York Times announced the formation of Blue Ribbon Books of which equal shares were owned by Dodd, Mead & Co., Harcourt, Brace & Co., Harper & Brothers and Little Brown & Co.  Blue Ribbon Books received from these four companies the rights of their successful non-fiction titles and also published titles from non-member houses on the usual royalty basis.


On March 5, 1937, another New York Times article announced the following:

"Robert de Graff, president of Blue Ribbon Books, Inc., which specializes in non-fiction reprints, announced yesterday the purchase of the stock and good-will of the A. L. Burt Company, a publishing organization founded in 1883.  Harry P. Burt, head of the company, is retiring.


"In bringing together the lists and publishing activities of the two companies," Mr. de Graff said, "we feel that the lines of both houses will be materially strengthened, since the fiction list of the A. L. Burt Company and the non-fiction books issued under the Blue Ribbon imprint are supplementary rather than competitive."


Blue Ribbon Books, which has offices at 386 Fourth Avenue, was founded in 1930 by four publishing companies and purchased by Mr. de Graff in 1933."


In June 1939, Blue Ribbon Books started the popular paperback imprint, Pocket Books.

By eliminating excessive margins and by the use of special lightweight but opaque paper Mr. de Graff has been able to bring these books down to pocket size (4 1/4 inches by 6 1/2 inches) without sacrificing legibility.  Each book is printed from type at least as large as that used in the original edition.  The carrying weight has been further cut down by doing away with bulky cloth and board binding and substituting semi-stiff paper binding coated with Dura-gloss, which is moisture proof and does not easily become soiled.  The books will sell at 25 cents per copy and will be on sale not only in book stores but also in drug and cigar stores and on newsstands. [New York Times, June 18, 1939]




Bobbs-Merrill [1838-1937]:

This company was founded by Samuel Merrill in 1838.  Merrill's first partner was Bowen



A publisher imprint


A.L. Burt [1883-1937]:

A. L. Burt publishing company was founded by Albert L. Burt [born in Belchertown, MA] in 1883 and began publishing at 105 John St. in New York City -- the beginning of several decades as a well-known reprint publisher. Burt came to be regarded as a pioneer in the field of printing the classics in attractive form at popular prices. His "Home Library" of several hundred titles had widespread sales for many years. The founder, Albert L. Burt passed away on 28 Dec 1913 and the business was taken over by his three sons [Harry, Frederick & Edward].  A.L. Burt was sold to Blue Ribbon Books in 1937.  Blue Ribbon Books was then purchased by Doubleday in 1939.  [see above].


A.L. Burt expanded its publishing strength by establishing reprint contracts with several publishers.  Between 1915 and 1928, A.L. Burt reprinted the first five of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan adventures acquiring the reprint rights from A.C. McClurg Publishers of Chicago [who had issued the first editions].  A.L. Burt setup similar reprint arrangements with other first editions publishers such as Appleton-Century, Bobbs-Merrill, Doubleday-Doran & Little, Brown reprinting the titles of dozens of works of popular fiction from the mysteries of Conan-Doyle, Oppenheim, Packard, Rohmer and Wallace, to the historical adventures of Chambers, Dumas & Farnol.  Many of these Burt reprints are often confused as first editions by collectors who eagerly find the early copyright dates without checking for the all important publisher imprints, and assessing dates of advertisements and publisher address changes.


For example, dating a book can be simplified by keeping in mind that A.L. Burt publishers changed their location as follows:


A.L. Burt

66 Reade Street


A.L. Burt

97 Reade Street


A.L. Burt

52-8 Duane Street


A.L. Burt

114-120 East. 23rd St



For more extensive information, collectors may wish to refer to the following bibliographies:


Note:  Includes an invaluable publisher imprint index with historical publisher's addresses as noted above.


Cosmopolitan [1838-1937]:

This company was founded by Samuel Merrill in 1838.  Merrill's first partner was Bowen


Dodd Mead [1]:

This company was founded by Samuel Merrill in 1838.  Merrill's first partner was Bowen



In 1887, Frank Nelson Doubleday worked in a magazine subscription position at Scribners.  In 1892, the well known magazine publisher Samuel McClure offered him a partnership from which they founded Doubleday & McClure Company.  McClure however continued to operate S. S. McClure publishing separately.  One of Frank Doubleday's first successes was publishing the works of his good friend Rudyard Kipling in the US.  Doubleday was also a close friend of Samuel Clemens [Mark Twain].


In 1900 the company became Doubleday, Page & Company when Walter Hines Page joined as a new partner [New York Times, Dec. 19, 1899].  In 1908, Samuel McClure decided to retire and offered McClure Publishing to Frank Doubleday who agreed to purchase it.  By 1910, Doubleday moved its operations to Garden City, NY and established a separate firm, the Country Life Press [an imprint collectors will recognize].  In this way, Doubleday became the first major publisher to have its own press and printing services in-house.


In 1922, Frank's son, Nelson Doubleday, joined the firm.  On September 22, 1927, Doubleday merged with George H. Doran Company forming Doubleday, Doran the largest publishing firm in the English-speaking world. "The consolidation is effective at once, but until Jan. 1 the firms will retain their separate entitles for the conduct of business, and their present names." [New York Times, September 23, 1927]


Some of the most widely known Doubleday imprints include:


Doubleday, McClure

Doubleday, Page

Doubleday, Doran

Doubleday & Co






Doubleday expanded its publishing empire by developing many publishing divisions, each with a unique imprint.  Among these imprints were the following milestones:


1925 Garden City Publishing Co. This was another imprint originally established as a separate firm by Nelson Doubleday, who was interesting pursuing the reprint market. Most of Garden City's books were reprints of books first offered by Doubleday, Page, printed from the original plates but on cheaper paper and sold for $1.00.

1929  Rimington & Hooper headed by R. Critchell Rimington, this imprint was for high quality limited editions. One of its most admired editions was the famous Currier & Ives book of prints.

1944   Blakiston Co. For medical and scientific books. Sold in 1947 to McGraw-Hill. (See Blakiston, 1843.)

1939---Blue Ribbon Books Purchased from Reynal & Hitchcock (See 1933). The reprint publisher for Doubleday.

1939---Triangle Books Purchased from Reynal & Hitchcock. (See 1933). Sold inexpensive books through chainstores.

1953 - Anchor Books  Anchor Books, founded in 1953, was the first line of quality  trade paperback books in the industry, Quality paperbacks sold in bookstores. This imprint was headed by Jason Epstein who left to establish Vintage Books for Random House.



The business became known as Doubleday & Company in 1946.


In 1986, Doubleday was sold to Bertelsmann, AG, and, in 1988 it became part of the Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, a division of Bertelsmann. In 1998, Bantam Doubleday Dell merged with Random House, Inc. In 1999, the Doubleday division merged with Broadway Books to form the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group. Anchor Books has become associated with Vintage Books to create Vintage Anchor, now part of the Knopf Publishing Group.




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Last Revision June 08, 2010 10:42 PM