From scholars to novelists to poets, the publishing firm of Henry Holt & Co. established and maintained a distinguished tradition of identifying, nurturing, and publishing important thinkers and writers of the day early in their careers. This book examines the founding and growth of Holt & Co. with particular attention to this tradition and to the roles of key figures in the company's history as a trade book publisher. Part One is a chronological account of Holt & Co.'s development, beginning with its founding in 1866 by the man sometimes referred to as "the Dean of American publishing," Henry Holt, and ending in 1946, when the talented editor William Sloane left Holt & Co. and a new era, dominated by big business interests, began for the firm. Part Two offers a more detailed look at the ways in which Henry Holt, Alfred Harcourt, Lincoln MacVeagh, and William Sloane worked with particular authors, including Frost, William James, Hardy, Henry Adams, Dewey, Turgenev, Sandburg, Lewis, and Lippmann. Gilbert also discusses Untermeyer, BenD,et, Housman, de la Mare, Van Doren, and Ciardi, notable examples of Holt & Co.'s reputation as an important publisher of poets.
The tension between commercial interests and literary ideals in publishing, decried by Henry Holt nearly ninety years ago and disdained by William Sloane over forty years ago, remains very much a part of the publishing scene today. Based on the wide use of primary sources, this volume provides an instructive, in-depth look at an important American publishing house.