A History of the Book in America

A History of the Book in America: Volume 3: The Industrial Book, 1840-1880

Scott E. Casper
Jeffrey D. Groves
Stephen W. Nissenbaum
Michael Winship
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 560
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  • Book Info
    A History of the Book in America
    Book Description:

    Volume 3 ofA History of the Book in Americanarrates the emergence of a national book trade in the nineteenth century, as changes in manufacturing, distribution, and publishing conditioned, and were conditioned by, the evolving practices of authors and readers. Chapters trace the ascent of the "industrial book"--a manufactured product arising from the gradual adoption of new printing, binding, and illustration technologies and encompassing the profusion of nineteenth-century printed materials--which relied on nationwide networks of financing, transportation, and communication. In tandem with increasing educational opportunities and rising literacy rates, the industrial book encouraged new sites of reading; gave voice to diverse communities of interest through periodicals, broadsides, pamphlets, and other printed forms; and played a vital role in the development of American culture.Contributors:Susan Belasco, University of NebraskaCandy Gunther Brown, Indiana UniversityKenneth E. Carpenter, Newton Center, MassachusettsScott E. Casper, University of Nevada, RenoJeannine Marie DeLombard, University of TorontoAnn Fabian, Rutgers UniversityJeffrey D. Groves, Harvey Mudd CollegePaul C. Gutjahr, Indiana UniversityDavid D. Hall, Harvard Divinity SchoolDavid M. Henkin, University of California, BerkeleyBruce Laurie, University of Massachusetts, AmherstEric Lupfer, Humanities TexasMeredith L. McGill, Rutgers UniversityJohn Nerone, University of IllinoisStephen W. Nissenbaum, University of MassachusettsLloyd Pratt, Michigan State UniversityBarbara Sicherman, Trinity CollegeLouise Stevenson, Franklin & Marshall CollegeAmy M. Thomas, Montana State UniversityTamara Plakins Thornton, State University of New York, BuffaloSusan S. Williams, Ohio State UniversityMichael Winship, University of Texas at Austin

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0547-0
    Subjects: History, Language & Literature, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-39)
    Scott E. Casper

    The American Book Trade Association (ABTA) opened its third annual conference on the swelteringTuesday afternoon of 11 July 1876. It was a week to the day after the hundredth anniversary of the creation of the United States of America, and the conference was being held in Philadelphia, on the grounds of the Centennial Exhibition. On behalf of the Local Committee on Reception, J. B. Mitchell of J. B. Lippincott & Co. welcomed the participants by saluting the century of progress embodied in the exposition’s displays. He pointed especially to the vivid contrasts his colleagues in the book trades might observe:...

  6. CHAPTER 1 Manufacturing and Book Production
    (pp. 40-69)
    Michael Winship

    In the United States, the nineteenth century was the great period of industrialization, and the benefits of industrial ways were an article of faith. As the epigraph to this chapter makes clear, this belief was especially true for the manufacture of and trade in books and other printed materials: between 1840 and 1880 these objects changed substantially in their manufacture, appearance, and cost, as did the lives of those who produced and consumed them. When examining these changes and their implications, it is important to distinguish the invention of a new technology—the most common focus of historical accounts or...

  7. CHAPTER 2 Labor and Labor Organization
    (pp. 70-89)
    Bruce Laurie

    Philadelphia’s journeymen printers did not share the excitement of the thousands of visitors pouring into Fairmount Park on 10 May 1876 for the grand opening of the Centennial Exhibition. Following three years of economic depression, workers in the printing trades faced a protracted crisis marked by widespread joblessness and falling wages. In one important respect, however, printers were better off than most wage earners. Their union, Local No. 2 of the International Typographical Union (ITU), had survived the worst of the depression and its class strife. Though weakened, the local enjoyed enough influence to convince another city trade association, the...

  8. CHAPTER 3 Authors and Literary Authorship
    (pp. 90-116)
    Susan S. Williams

    In 1821 sixteen-year-old Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote to his mother about what career he might choose. Having ruled out the traditional genteel professions—the ministry, law, and medicine—he proposed a riskier plan. ‘‘What do you think of my becoming an Author, and relying for support upon my pen,’’ he asked. ‘‘Indeed I think the illegibility of my handwriting is very authorlike. Howproud youwould feel to see my works praised by the reviewers, as equal to proudest productions of the scribbling sons of John Bull.’’¹ Hawthorne did eventually support himself by his pen (though not as well as he would have...

  9. CHAPTER 4 The National Book Trade System
    (pp. 117-157)
    Michael Winship

    On 17 September 1850, NewYork publisher A. S. Barnes & Co. wrote to Lea & Blanchard, a Philadelphia publisher chiefly of medical books, introducing Joseph S. Taft of Houston, Texas, who ‘‘is in Book business at that place, and sells many of your Books’’ and whom Barnes had found to be ‘‘true & faithful.’’ Three days later, Taft visited Lea&Blanchard in Philadelphia and placed an order for that firm’s books, received on credit, in the amount of $180.48. On 2 October, back in Houston, Taft wrote to the firm:

    I find more ready sale for your medical works than I...

  10. CHAPTER 5 The Role of Government
    (pp. 158-193)
    Meredith L. McGill

    The history of copyright law in the nineteenth century has been told as a story of gradual progress toward the copyright system we are familiar with today, including the broadening of a narrow definition of authors’ rights to include translation and dramatization; the extension of copyright protection from the original ‘‘maps, charts, and books’’ to a wider range of mass-produced and fine-art objects; the centralization of the administration of copyrights; and the emergence by the 1880s of a consensus within the publishing trades as to the need for an international copyright agreement. But to identify this period with the belated...

  11. CHAPTER 6 Alternative Publishing Systems
    (pp. 194-223)
    Paul C. Gutjahr

    E pluribus unum:out of many, one. Drawn in the broadest strokes, the story of American religious publishing in the nineteenth century actually inverts that progression. It is a story dominated by Protestants, who in the opening decades of the century enjoyed an optimistic, postmillennially inspired vision of Christian unity and who established powerful interdenominational publishing societies to influence their nation for Christ. As the century wore on, American Protestants moved away from such ecumenical endeavors and began to show more faith in, and commitment to, denominational printing enterprises to bring about the conversion of their wayward fellow citizens. While...

  12. CHAPTER 7 Periodicals and Serial Publication
    (pp. 224-278)
    Jeffrey D. Groves

    All producers of printed works—members of the regular trade and specialized publishers, authors, small-town printers, and workers at large urban newspapers—understood the economic and cultural importance of periodical publication. According to the Eighth Census, periodicals made up just over half of the total value of printing reported for 1859–60.¹ Readers, responding enthusiastically to this widespread production and attuned to the rhythm of daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual publication, possessed an ingrained sense of the key characteristics that generally distinguished these printed works from books. Published serially with a continuing title and maintaining topical character and timeliness...

  13. CHAPTER 8 Ideologies and Practices of Reading
    (pp. 279-302)
    Barbara Sicherman

    ‘‘We are unquestionably a reading people,’’ declared an Ohio educator in 1856.¹ Samuel Goodrich, author of an estimated 170 books for young people, was among the many who echoed that claim: ‘‘We . . . find a larger proportion of our people devoted to education, and reading, and meditation, and reflection than is to be met with in any other land.’’² Without endorsing such assertions of native superiority, foreign visitors also commented on the pervasiveness of reading in mid-nineteenth-century America.³

    Just how many Americans read, as well as how much, what, and how they read, are questions that invite exploration....

  14. CHAPTER 9 Sites of Reading
    (pp. 303-345)

    Reading is a material act, in part as a result of the diverse physical settings in which people read. Three such sites are the library, the home, and the city: communal space, domestic space, and public space. In the mid nineteenth century, institutions across the United States, ranging from colleges to churches to mercantile associations, established libraries. Shared ownership of, and access to, reading matter helped such communities to define themselves and their missions. By 1880 these institutions began to include the towns and cities that supported public libraries. Domestic reading took place in different rooms within the home, at...

  15. CHAPTER 10 Cultures of Print
    (pp. 346-390)

    Nineteenth-century Americans possessed multiple affinities and affiliations, which helped shape their individual and collective identities. These associational dimensions of identity—such as family, nationality, vocation, religion, and region—were often profoundly shaped by ‘‘cultures of print’’: specific sorts of reading practices, particular patterns and institutions of publication. Learned culture had connections to colleges and universities as well as historical, scientific, and kindred societies, many of them (notably the Smithsonian Institution) founded around midcentury. Among affinitive cultures of print, the ranks of learnedness were perhaps themost consciously exclusive: individuals could not simply choose to join. In this period, learned culture was...

  16. CHAPTER 11 Alternative Communication Practices and the Industrial Book
    (pp. 391-415)

    As book manufacturing became industrialized and the language of professionalism pervaded publishing and authorship alike, important alternative communication practices continued, notably oratory, handwriting, and amateur production of printed matter. One might expect that investigations of those practices would reveal eddies of ‘‘tradition’’ unaffected by the dynamic mainstream, arenas bypassed by the industrial book or allowing withdrawal from its gathering power. That may sometimes have been the case, but the story is not so simple. The oratory associated with reform movements was fixed, even on outlying Nantucket, in an increasingly potent culture of print. The precision and repeatability of print changed...

  17. Coda
    (pp. 416-424)
    Scott E. Casper

    The Centennial Exhibition closed on 10 November 1876, but not before leaving its own residue in print: guidebooks, maps, a history of the fair compiled from reports inFrank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.Marietta Holley’s humorous novelJosiah Allen’s Wife as a P.A. and P.I.: Samantha at the Centennialappeared the next year from the American Publishing Company, a leading Hartford subscription publisher. The exhibition had played host to the American Library Association as well as the American Book Trade Association. And it had provoked a copyright lawsuit,Centennial Catalogue Co.v. Porter,in which the publisher of the fair’s official catalog...

  18. NOTES
    (pp. 425-488)
    (pp. 489-510)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 511-539)