Page 104 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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trained as a printer. He brought out his first book in 1902, and
during the next two decades he established a reputation as the
most sympathetic as well as the most liberal of American pub-
lishers. On his annual lists, relatively small but of good quality,
were to be found new Jewish authors and books of Jewish content.
He was the first American publisher to issue a Yiddish work in
English translation—David Pinski’s
The Treasure
Alfred A. Knopf, son of a Polish Jew but fully assimilated,
started his publishing firm in 1915. More conservative and a more
astute businessman than Huebsch, he has for a half century main-
tained an exceptionally high literary standard and has issued a
goodly number of Jewish books. In 1917 the flamboyant Horace
Liveright joined Albert and Charles Boni in publishing the
justly famous Modern Library; later, by himself, Liveright
brought out a long list of books, many of outstanding merit and
some definitely notorious. By this time a number of Jewish
writers were actively engaged in the emerging literary renascence,
and they naturally gravitated to the new and enterprising
houses founded by Jews. Among Jewish publishers starting in
the 1920’s were Simon and Schuster, The Viking Press, and
Random House, three of the currently successful firms. Subse-
quently a number of other Jews entered publishing, more or
less flourishingly.
The old established publishers were at first hostile to their
Jewish competitors, intimating that they were denigrating the
profession with their loose standards, but in time they found
it desirable to encourage authors of modern views and uncon-
ventional subject-matter. A good many of these authors were
Jews who dealt with Jewish subjects. Thus Houghton Mifflin pub-
lished Mary Antin’s
The Promised Land
(1912), Longmans issued
S. Joseph's
Jewish Immigration to the United States from 1881
to 1910(
1914), Putnam brought out Israel Friedlander’s
Jews of
Russia and Poland
(1914), Dodd, Mead added I. Cohen’s
Life in Modern T imes(
1914), and Harper made Jewish literary
history with Abraham Cahan’s
The Rise of David Levinsky
The market for these books was still small, but with the passing
years they attracted more and more readers, and during the 1920’s
and 1930’s quite a few Jewish books appeared on best seller lists.
Some of the more popular works, if not best sellers, were Ludwig
(1922) and
The Island Within
(1928), Sam-
uel Ornitz’s
Haunch, Paunch and Jow l(
1923), Nat J. Ferber’s
The Sidewalks of New York
(1927), Myron Brinig’s
(1929), Michael Gold’s
Jews Without Money(
1930), and Meyer
The Old Bunch
(1937). Such Jewish writers as Montague
Glass, Edna Ferber, and Fanny Hurst, while highly popular,
wrote about Jews either only inferentially or in a humorous vein.