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Little Leather Library Corporation of New York. OAC

 
 

Subjects

Biographical History

The Little Leather Library Corporation of New York was the first company to mass-market inexpensive books in the United States. The corporation, founded in 1916 by Albert Boni, Harry Scherman and Maxwell Sackheim, made available a wide variety of classics by authors including Rudyard Kipling, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Morris, William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Henry James, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats in miniature editions. The 101 books in this collection are brownish green in color, bound in imitation leather, and characteristic of the Redcroft edition published between 1920-1924. Only the first two editions were bound in real leather.

When first published, the little books were sold at the Woolworth's chain. By the early 1920s, the books were advertised in popular magazines, selling in National Geographic from 1922 to 1924. Sometimes a miniature classic might appear in a cereal box as a promotion. Robert K. Hass, Inc., Publishers took control of the Little Leather Library Corporation in 1924. Boni later established Modern Library Publishing Company, of which Random House Publishers would become a subsidiary company. Scherman and Sackheim as well as Hass were later involved in the establishment of the Book of the Month Club.

Sources

"Arts and Crafts Movement." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arts_and_Crafts_movement

Hamilton, Charles F. As Bees in Honey Drown: Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters. New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1973.

Helps, John. Personal interview. 26 Jun 2008.

Hubbard, Elbert. The Tale of Two Tailors: Which the Same Has the Quality of Being TRUE. East Aurora, N.Y.: Roycrofters, 1909.

"Little Leather Library" http://home.earthlink.net/~littlelibrary/

"Roycroft." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roycroft

Wolfe, Richard J., and Paul McKenna. Louis Herman Kinder and Fine Bookbinding in America: A Chapter in the History of the Roycroft Shop. Newtown, PA.: Bird & Bull Press, 1985.

From the finding aid for Little Leather Library Collection 1920-1924 (Special Collections, Robert E. Kennedy Library )

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