Wednesday, August 12, 2009

George M. Hill-Publisher and His Henty Series


George M. Hill, a book binder, was a Chicago book publisher active between 1898 and 1902. Although most famous for the publication of the early L. Frank Baum books (particularly The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 1900), it also published some other juveniles. In 1901 Hill obtained the exclusive right to publish Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. It appears that Hill published little on his own imprint after 1902.

The George M. Hill Company was in bankruptcy court by 1902. Thereafter, Hill may have restarted a book bindery but his publishing days were over. Various works were purchased by other publishing companies. Reilly and Britton got the rights to the Baum books as well the the Webster's Dictionary.Of course, it is no mystery how Reilly and Britton got the "pick of the litter" Frank Reilly had been the general manager of Hill and Sumner Britton has been the sales manager. As Hill was going under, Reilly and Britton in 1902 was being founded.

The vest pocket books were sold to David McKay. George W. Ogilvie bought many titles. And based on the evidence here, Mershon got the rights to the Henty Series which Hill had published.



















As with many publishers of this era George Hill published a series of Henty books. The Hill series numbered 37 volumes. I have only seen the one cover- shown at the top of this entry.
As can be seen above, the rear of dust jacket of what appears to be the earliest of the Mershon Henty Series variants is identical to the Hill series (except for the imprint), Hill was only one of many publishers that printed reprint Henty Series. Others included Hurst, Donohue, Burt, Allison, and Lupton to name a few.

George M. Hill Co. dust jacketed books are somewhat scarce. Here is a nice example

3 comments:

  1. Readers may like to know that Hill was founded in 1900 and as stated above went under in 1902. Hill, along with many American publishers of the time was a 'pirate' publisher of Henty titles. In other words, they 'stole' copyright ! Other 'pirate' publishers include Allison, Burt, Donohue, Federal, Lupton, Mershon and quite a few more. For more information consider contacting The Henty Society via www.HentySociety .org via the email addresses on the membership page. The Society will always help.
    Roger Childs

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a copy of Black Beauty published by Hill and am trying to find out what year it was published

    ReplyDelete
  3. Would you happen to have any additional information on George M. Hill Company? I find it is hard to come by. I was given a copy of Paradise Lost by John Milton published by GMHC circa 1890 and am interested in figuring out its rarity. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete