Guide to the Research Collections



Materials on publishing, both in this country and abroad, constitute strong holdings in a subject area covered by comprehensive collecting. The resources are entered under a number of different headings in the Public Catalog: "Authors and Publishers," "Best Sellers, Literary," "Clandestine Publications," "Censorship, Literary," "Music--Publishing," etc. The collection of more than 100 editions of the Index librorum prohibitorum in the Rare Book Division, the earliest dated 1550 with coverage extending to the nineteenth century, is a significant part of the material dealing with censorship. Periodicals are a feature of the general collections on publishing, as are the formal histories of the industry and of individual firms; New York City is especially well covered. A collection of 22 scrapbooks containing examples of book jackets produced in the United States, England, Germany, and other countries illustrates the development of that form. Also included is a small but interesting collection on literary hoaxes entered in the Public Catalog under the heading "Literature--Forgeries, frauds, etc.:" many index entries to periodical articles are included.

Manuscript Resources

Since New York City is the center of publishing activity in the United States, the Manuscripts and Archives Division has made an effort to acquire archives of publishing houses and editors; these supplement the excellent resources in American and English literature. The manuscript "Work Book No. 2" of Benjamin Franklin and David Hall, Philadelphia printers, came to the library in 1929 as the gift of Edward S. Harkness. It is a business record of the firm for the period August 2, 1759 to January 30, 1766.6 The papers of Richard Rogers Bowker, editor and publisher of book-trade periodicals from 1870 to the 1930s, consist of 21 volumes, 170 boxes, and 3 cartons of materials.7 Other extensive records of printing and publishing firms include those of the Century Company from 1880 to 1914 (207 boxes);8 Alfred A. Knopf, 1930-50 (3 boxes and 10 cartons); the Pynson Press, publishers of the Colophon, 1928-33 (14 packages); and the Chiswick Press (England), 1831 to 1933 (3 boxes). The acquisition of the Macmillan Company archives in 1965 gave the library a magnificent collection of editorial correspondence in 119 copy-books for the period from 1889 to 1907, and some 16,000 letters from Macmillan authors during the first half of the twentieth century.9 The papers are more fully described in the discussion of significant gifts in chapter 20 of this Guide. Related manuscript materials on specific aspects of publishing are discussed in the chapters on periodical and newspaper resources.

More than 400 items record the history of the first press of South America, from its establishment in Lima in 1584 by Antonio Ricardo until the death of the second printer, Francisco del Canto, in 1618. The materials, contained in a single large portfolio, include letters, contracts, inventories of the contents of the printing shop, and other documents, with the major portion referring to del Canto. This archive was the gift of Edward S. Harkness.