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.

Reprint Publishers

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 Robert 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.


The Publishers

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 ().


Traditional Publishers

W. L. Allison Company PDF

Amereon House

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 PDF

Benjamin Blom, Inc.

Brown, Bazin, & Co. PDF

A. L. Burt Company, Publishers PDF

A. L. Burt, Publisher PDF

Butler Brothers 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. PDF

The Goldsmith Publishing Company PDF

Grosset & Dunlap PDF

Hurst & Company (small formats) PDF

Hurst & Company (standard formats) PDF

International Book Company PDF

J. B. Lippincott PDF

A. K. Loring, Publisher PDF

Frank F. Lovell & Company PDF

John W. Lovell Company PDF

F. M. Lupton PDF

MacLellan Publishers (Gardner)/The MacLellan-N-Y Company Publishers (Chase) PDF

David McKay, Publisher PDF

McLoughlin Brothers (Gardner) McLoughlin Brothers, Publishers (Chase) PDF

The Mershon Company PDF

Frank A. Munsey, Publisher PDF

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 PDF

J. S. Ogilvie & Company PDF

Penn Publishing Company PDF

Porter & Coates PDF

Royal Publishing Company

The Saalfield Publishing Company PDF

Stitt Publishing Company PDF

Street & Smith PDF

The Superior Printing Company PDF

Thompson & Thomas PDF

Trade Publishing Company PDF

W. S. Trigg

United States Book Company PDF

Vickery and Hill Publishing Company PDF

Ward & Drummond

Arthur Westbrook Company PDF

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)

Acadia Press

Aeonian Press PDF

Archon Books PDF

Arno Press PDF

Bonanza Books PDF

Buttorf Publishing PDF

The Book Club of California PDF

J. S. Canner & Company, Inc. PDF

Canyon Books PDF

Collier Books PDF

Collier & Westgard PDF

Crown Publishers PDF

Doubleday & Company PDF

D.N. Goodchild PDF

Heritage Press PDF

Holt, Reinhart and Winston PDF

Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Alexandria, VA (HAA) PDF

Horatio Alger Society (HAS) PDF

Major Books PDF

Mantle Ministries Press PDF

Media Books PDF

Nautilus Books PDF

The Odyssey Press, Inc. PDF

Pavilion Press PDF

Polyglot Press PDF

Value Books PDF

Gilbert K. Westgard II PDF


Rare, Infrequent, or Unusual Publishers

Butler Brothers (Chicago and New York) PDF

D. N. Goodchild PDF

Horatio Alger Society

Ottenheimer (Baltimore, MD)

John Wanamaker (Philadelphia, PA) PDF

Henry J. Wehman PDF


Foreign Publishers

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 and Company, London (The Nugget Finders -- the only known British hardcover edition)

Taiyosha Press, Tokyo

Various Chinese and Korean publishers, etc.


Online Publishers

Project Gutenberg

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

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.

Transisition copies

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.

Online Publishers

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."