Friday, October 9, 2009

Benziger Publishing Company

Many of the religiously oriented book publishers printed juvenile series. Examples are the Methodist Book Concern, The American Tract Company and the Presbyterian Board of Publication to name a few. One company that seemingly was more mainstream than the others was the Benziger Brothers.

Mattson's guide actually lists ten Benziger juvenile boy's series. And arbitrarily excluded many more than that. All of the juveniles of course have important moralistic lessons. I am sure these books grace the shelves of quite a number of famous Americans, like David Letterman, Mark Sanford, Bill Clinton, Bernie Madoff, etc, etc.

THe Benziger Brothers' firm was founded initially in 1853 as a branch of the Swiss Firm which dates back to 1793. The American compnay was run by the grandsons of the founder.Early on prayer books and liturgical texts were the mainstay of the publishing output. By the 1890's though and thereafter and very wide array of books were published including the juveniles.

With success came expansion. Branches were opened in St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco and even in Italy. many of the books have dates on the title pages. Some however do not but have New York City addresses and list which cities the branches are in.

To help with those books here is a simple table.
1870's- 36 Barclay Street
1932-26-28 Park Place
San Francisco branch opened in 1929

More about the Benziger juvenile series later.

Above is a nice advertising cover for the Benziger Brothers A picture of their building is on the upper left.

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