Publishers and Their Formats
First editions are usually most important to collectors. One of the first pages we put on this website was a list of Alger first editions. When a title was issued in both soft and hard cover, we define points for each. The firsts are here.
This site lists 125 first editions issued by 15 publishers. Some publishers issued only one first edition. A. K Loring issued 37 firsts.
But what about reprints? Alger was very widely reprinted, and that's what this directory is about. Thanks to the enormous effort of two members (and a great deal of support from others), the information about reprints is organized and is as complete as possible. This was a massive task, as there were many reprint publishers (please see our listing below).
To add to the complexity, many publishers used multiple formats. (A format is a unique cover/spine combination, and the format grows more complex when a publisher used multiple appliques on one cover/spine format.)
Lastly, reprint publishers would issue many titles in each format, but rarely the same list of titles. Whenever possible, we have tried to list all titles known to appear in each format.
In a few cases, a publishing company changed ownership. The publisher is different; the cover and spine of a title are different, but the text block may remain largely the same. We call this a transition copy (please see below).
One final note is that some first editions were reprinted under different titles. There's a table of first vs. reprint titles here.
The work began with the reprint bibliographies developed by Brad Chase (PF-412). These are incredibly detailed analyses of seventeen publishers, with histories of the publishing houses and biographies of the founders. These have been published in book form. There are seven books -- five paperbacks (which are availabe as a boxed set as well as individually) and two hardcover books devoted to Hurst. You can see them here.
NOW, the work has been expanded and completed through a massive effort by Bob Eastlack (PF-557). We've not completed the count, but we estimate that there are over 1,700 publisher/cover/spine/applique/title variations.
The following is meant to be an aid, not an authoritative guide, as we are always making new discoveries and corrections! The Horatio Alger Society is not responsible for any mistakes made because of the information provided below.
We grouped publishers into major groups: traditional (19th and early 20th century), modern, rare, foreign, and online.
There's a web page for most of the reprint publishers. Each page contains formats and titles. It also identifies any titles that are first editions. Some publishers put out only first editions; some put out only reprints; some put out a mix of the two.
In addition to the web page, you may open, save, and print a PDF of the format information for any single publisher. Look for the PDF symbol ().
W. L. Allison Company
American News Company (please see G. W. Carleton & Co.)
American Publishers Corporation PDF
John R. Anderson & Company PDF
John R. Anderson and Henry S. Allen
Benjamin Blom, Inc.
Brown, Bazin, & Co.
A. L. Burt Company, Publisher PDF
A. L. Burt, Publisher PDF
H. M. Caldwell Company PDF
G.W. Carleton & Co. PDF
Chatterton-Peck Company PDF
Cincinnati Publishing Company
Henry T. Coates & Company PDF
Consolidated Retailers Booksellers, Publishers (or Consolidated Retail Booksellers, per Gardner) PDF
Cupples & Leon PDF
DeWolfe-Fiske & Co.
George W. Dillingham PDF
M. A. Donahue & Co. PDF
Dramatic Publishing Company
Federal Book Company PDF
James French & Co.
The Goldsmith Publishing Company PDF
Grosset & Dunlap PDF
Hurst & Company (small formats) PDF
Hurst & Company (standard formats) PDF
International Book Company
J. B. Lippincott
A. K. Loring, Publisher PDF
Frank F. Lovell & Company
John W. Lovell Company
F. M. Lupton
MacLellan Publishers (Gardner)/The MacLellan-N-Y Company Publishers (Chase) PDF
David McKay, Publisher
McLoughlin Brothers (Gardner) McLoughlin Brothers, Publishers (Chase) PDF
The Mershon Company
Frank A. Munsey, Publisher
The Mutual Book Company PDF
The New Werner Company PDF
New World Book Company
The New York Book Company PDF
The New York Publishing Company
J. S. Ogilvie & Company
Penn Publishing Company PDF
Porter & Coates PDF
Royal Publishing Company
The Saalfield Publishing Company PDF
John F. Shaw & Co., Ltd. (London)
Stitt Publishing Company
Street & Smith PDF
The Superior Printing Company PDF
Thompson & Thomas PDF
Trade Publishing Company PDF
W. S. Trigg
United States Book Company
Vickery and Hill Publishing Company
Ward & Drummond
Arthur Westbrook Company
Whitman Publishing Company PDF
The John C. Winston Company PDF
The World Publishing Company PDF
The World Syndicate Publishing Company PDF
Publishers of "Modern" Firsts or Reprints (1950's or later)
The Book Club of California
J. S. Canner & Company, Inc.
Collier & Westgard
Doubleday & Company
Holt, Reinhart and Winston
Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Alexandra, VA (HAA)
Mantle Ministries Press
The Odyssey Press, Inc.
Gilbert K. Westgard II
Rare, Infrequent, or Unusual Publishers
Butler Brothers (Chicago and New York)
D. N. Goodchild
Horatio Alger Society
Ottenheimer (Baltimore, MD)
John Wanamaker (Philadelphia, PA)
Henry J. Wehman
Aldine Publishing Company, England
Jindr Bačkovský Bookstore and Publishing House, Prague
N. W. Damm & Sons, Oslo
Lambda Edition, GmbH, Hamburg
Kodansha Press, Tokyo
J. Ross Robertson, Toronto (The New School Ma’am -- first known foreign printing, 1877)
John F. Shaw Company, London (The Nugget Finders -- the only known British hardcover edition)
Taiyosha Press, Tokyo
Various Chinese and Korean publishers, etc.
Any Kindle, Nook, or Kobo ebook maker
The major sources for development of this directory were Bob Eastlack and Brad Chase. We also relied on the Gardner biography "Horatio Alger, or The American Hero Era" for its list of publishers. Many thanks to Rob Kasper for his expert advice. In addition, many thanks to the authors of numerous scholarly articles that appreared in Newsboy, edited by William R. Gowen (PF-706).
Bob Routhier (deceased) made significant research contributions during his lifetime. In 1984, Bob Sawyer (PF-455) and Jim Thorp (PF-574) produced a 38-page booklet about Winston formats.
Publisher names are generally accurate, but not absolutely guaranteed. Where there appears to be no critical difference between names chosen by Chase, Eastlack, Bennett, or Gardner, we've used the clearest one. For example, Consolidated Retailer Booksellers, Publishers (per Eastlack) vs. Consolidated Retail Booksellers (per Gardner).
Where there is a significant conflict, which amounts to two distinct companies, we cite both names as separate entries. For example The New York Book Company vs. New York Publishing Company. Similar, but not the same.
A transition copy is a book that contains parts of the book stock from a previous publisher. There will be physical, identifiable attributes associated with each of the two publishers.
Typically, a transition copy has the new publisher's wrapper, but the old publisher's text block. For example, in 1895, Porter & Coates founder Robert Porter retired, and the firm became Henry T. Coates & Co. A typical transition copy shows the HTC colophon on the spine with P&C on the title page.
Project Gutenberg was the first publisher to put Alger titles online -- at no cost! In the years that have passed, many modern reprinters have published Alger ebooks. Some are free and others are for sale. We have made no attempt to document online publishers. The process is relatively easy and "anyone can do it."