American News Company

American News Company was a magazine, newspaper, book, and comic book distribution company founded in 1864[1] by Sinclair Tousey,[2][3] which dominated the distribution market in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. The company's abrupt 1957 demise caused a huge shakeup in the publishing industry, forcing many magazine, comic book, and paperback publishers out of business.

American News Company
Distributor, wholesaler
IndustryNewspapers, Books, Comics, Magazines
Founded1864
FounderSinclair Tousey
Defunct1957
HeadquartersNew Jersey, New York City
Key people
Henry Garfinkle, Myron Garfinkle
DivisionsUnion News Company

Early years

The American News Company had its roots in two New York City newspaper and periodical wholesaling firms: Sinclair Tousey's company on Nassau St., and the firm Dexter, Hamilton & Co. at 22 Ann St. These were the two largest news and periodical wholesalers in New York City at the time of their merger on Feb. 1, 1864, when American News Company was formed. The seven original partners were Sinclair Tousey, John E. Tousey, Harry Dexter, George Dexter, John Hamilton, Patrick Farrelly, and Solomon W. Johnson. These partners formed the core of the company's management until the death of the last surviving partner, Solomon Johnson, in 1913.[4] Sinclair Tousey was the company's first president, followed after his death by Harry Dexter, who was succeeded by Solomon Johnson.

The company's Boston branch was formed by taking over the wholesale periodical business of Boston bookseller Alexander Williams. In 1854, Williams had bought out the business of Fetridge & Co., which operated on the corner of State St. and Washington a large magazine store known as the Periodical Depot or the Periodical Arcade.[5] Williams worked up an extensive trade as a jobber of newspapers and periodicals to out of town dealers all over the East Coast, and by the time ANC was organized the wholesale side of the business had grown too large for Williams to handle alone. Along with two smaller competing firms, Dyer & Co. and Federhen & Co.,[6] the Boston trade was reorganized as a subsidiary of American News under the name New England News Company, with Williams as one of the principal shareholders. Initially an officer of the new corporation, Williams was a bookstore proprietor at heart and left soon afterward in 1869 to take over the famous "Old Corner Bookstore".[7]

Two years after the company formed it added to its newspaper and magazine business a book jobbing department, under the supervision of a Mr. Dunham; this grew to be one of the largest in the country.

With the end of the Civil War, the firm grew rapidly along the expanding railroads as they opened up the West, with the commencement of coast-to-coast continental rail service in 1869. Legislation passed by Congress required the railroads to transport newspapers and periodicals as second class bulk mail at a special low subsidized rate—one cent per pound for any distance between news agencies, so that a bundle of New York newspapers could be sent across the continent to Los Angeles for the same price that it could be shipped across the river to Newark—and ANC exploited the availability of cheap rail transport to expand their distribution network across the continent, so far ahead of the competition that they effectively shut any possible rivals out of the market, establishing their periodical depots by the hundreds in every city and large town on the rail system. At the same time, the number of periodicals being published in America was exploding: Frank Mott, in A History of American Magazines, estimates that the number of titles being published boomed from 700 at the end of the Civil War to 3300 in 1885.[8]

In 1893, an article in The American Newsman summed up the company's success: "It is as the keeper of a thousand secrets involving the fortunes of publishers and authors that the American News Company surrounds its vast and intricate system with an atmosphere of mystery, so that few persons have any idea of its really astounding proportions. It has gradually absorbed the smaller organizations until it now embraces thirty-two powerful news companies, with an annual operating expense of $2,488,000 and an annual business of something like $18,000,000. This organization handles the bulk of the reading matter of the United States and supplies nearly nineteen thousand dealers."[9]

On any given day, a hundred new issues of the thousands of titles ANC handled would typically be fed into the ANC distribution system. In New York City alone (at that time consisting solely of Manhattan and the Bronx) 125 wagons and drivers crisscrossed the city every day making deliveries, with 14 local neighborhood substations.

ANC employed directly in 1893 1,154 people, with a weekly payroll of $16,255; with $1 million in real estate holdings and $1.4 million in merchandise on hand. It extended extensive credit to the firms it did business with and $800,000 was due at any given time in accounts receivable from dealers around the country. It owned outright 18 buildings around the country and rented 39 more, and had $200,000 invested in horses and wagons. The branches of the company at this time were located in Albany, Baltimore, Boston, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Montreal, Newark, New Orleans, Omaha, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Providence, San Francisco, Springfield (Mass.), St. Louis, St. Paul, Toronto, Troy, and Washington D.C. These branches were organized as subsidiaries under different names, for example the Chicago branch was the Great Western News Company, founded in 1866. The International News Company, on Duane Street in New York, was the branch handling the company's extensive overseas business. A branch called the Union News Company existed solely to sell newspapers and magazines on the railroads, with 300 newsstands in railroad stations which by 1893 covered 40% of the entire US railroad system, paying $1000 a day for exclusive rights. Under this system, Union News could keep the Chicago Tribune out of the Chicago area train stations until the Tribune agreed to their terms. In 1958, the FTC found that Union News was operating nearly a thousand newsstands around the country (the next largest operator had 57), putting Union News in a position to dictate terms and demand rebates from publishers.

Typically, in the post-Civil War era, ANC in its position as the middleman between publishers and newsstand dealers would allow the newsstand dealers to keep between 5 and 10 cents on the sale of a 35-cent magazine like the monthly Harper's, and three cents on a 10-cent magazine like Harper's Weekly. Unsold copies of most titles were fully returnable, although some titles were sold to the dealers as non-returnable at a steeper discount, similar to today's "direct sale" comic book market.

American News's monopoly position in the market was virtually unchallenged until Frank Munsey, frustrated by ANC's refusal to handle his cheap 10 cent pulp magazines, was forced to set up his own distribution, Red Star News.[10] This was the first of the so-called ID or independent distributors. Munsey balked when ANC informed him that 4 cents was the most they would pay wholesale for a magazine that sold for 10 cents retail, and Munsey retaliated by cutting out the middleman and setting up his own distributor to sell directly to newsdealers for 7 cents a copy.[11] Munsey was followed in time by Hearst, Fawcett, Curtis, Annenberg and Donenfeld, all constrained by various factors into setting up their own independent distribution networks outside the ANC monopoly; nonetheless ANC remained by far the dominant firm up until its collapse.

Background

American News functioned both as a national distributor and as a local periodical wholesaler. After World War II, headed by Henry Garfinkle, the company had over 300 branches blanketing the United States, and employed several thousand employees. During the middle of the century, American News stood as the largest book wholesaler in the world, dominating the industry. It also had a near stranglehold on the distribution of magazines and newspapers within the United States market, dominating that industry as well. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange, it had more than 5400 stockholders.[12] Headquartered in New Jersey, American News also had offices in downtown Manhattan.[13]

Comic book clients of American News included Atlas Comics, Dell Comics, and Toby Press. National Comics had its own distributor, Independent News Company, and was able to take on distribution for other comic book publishers after American News failed. Comic book publishers who were not able to come to terms with National's distributors quickly went under, and others were limited in the number of titles they were allowed to distribute under the new arrangements—Atlas (later known as Marvel Comics) was rationed to eight titles a month. The change also affected paperback book publishers like Lion Library, which went out of business when Independent News (which was already distributing rival New American Library) refused to take it on. Avon paperbacks, which had been founded as a subsidiary of ANC in 1941 in the early days of the paperback boom, managed to survive the crash and was taken over by Hearst.

Many magazines distributed in the 1940s were in pulp format; by the end of 1955, nearly all had either ceased publication or switched to digest format. This change was largely the work of the refusal of American News and other distributors to carry the pulp magazines since they were no longer profitable.[14] The 1950s boom in science fiction magazine publishing, with 30 new titles being launched, turned overnight into collapse with the failure of ANC. Other pulp fiction genres—western, romance, detective—suffered a similar extinction event. These sections of the magazine field were already in decline and it was simply not worth the effort to rescue already marginal magazine titles.

Demise

In 1952, the government began antitrust litigation against ANC which was destined to drag on until the company's demise. Around 1955 major magazine publishers began disengaging themselves from ANC and making other arrangements for newsstand distribution. When Collier's and Woman's Home Companion, two of their biggest-selling titles, folded in January 1957, it came as a serious blow to ANC at a time when the company was already on financially shaky ground. In April Dell Publishing announced that they were pulling out and making other arrangements for their distribution.

The mammoth company's abrupt demise in June 1957 has been a source of speculation for decades. One theory is that a speculator became aware that a bookkeeping peculiarity in American News' accounts could allow a large profit from liquidating the company. He acquired control, and proceeded to sell off the assets, ultimately winding the company up.[15] This theory was summarized in a 1960 lawsuit:

In 1955 the defendant Henry Garfinkle and the members of his family acquired 11 per cent of the stock in the defendant American News Company. Soon thereafter he became its president. ... The defendant American News Company, notwithstanding its great size and notwithstanding its apparent dominance in the periodical distribution field, commencing in the fifties began to encounter difficulties. It lost franchise after franchise and began sustaining heavy losses. By 1957 it had sustained losses in connection with its distribution of periodicals in excess of $8,000,000.00. In 1957 it decided to cease its activities as a national distributor and local wholesaler. It laid off around 8,000 of its employees and sold all of the equipment used in connection with its distribution activities. By June 1957, it was entirely out of business as a national distributor and as a local wholesaler.[12]

An alternative (but somewhat similar explanation) for the company's demise has been offered by comic book historian and author Gerard Jones. The company in 1956...

had been found guilty of restraint of trade and ordered to divest itself of the newsstands it owned. Its biggest client, George Delacorte, announced he would seek a new distributor for his Dell Comics and paperbacks. The owners of American News estimated the effect that would have on their income. Then they looked at the value of the New Jersey real estate where their headquarters sat. They liquidated the company and sold the land. The company ... vanished without a trace in the suburban growth of the 1950s.[16]

Repercussions

The effect on the American magazine market was catastrophic. Many magazines had to switch to one of the independent distributors, who were able to set their own conditions for taking on new business. This often forced the magazines to change from a digest size to a larger format, and to become monthly rather than bimonthly or quarterly. Many magazines could not afford to make these changes, both of which required either high circulation or a strong advertising base, and many magazines folded as a result.[15]

An example of a company that the change in distributor had a drastic impact on is Atlas Comics, which was forced to switch distribution to Independent News, owned by National Periodical Publications, owner of Atlas' rival, DC Comics. Because of this, Atlas was constrained as to its publishing output for the next decade (including the early years of its successor, Marvel Comics).[17]

Notes

  1. ^ "Patrick Farrelly," The Publishers' Weekly (April 30, 1904).
  2. ^ "DEATH OF SINCLAIR TOUSEY, MANY WHO FOUNDED AMERICAN NEWS[sic], 'New York Times (June 17, 1887).
  3. ^ "Record of Current Events", The American Monthly Review of Reviews (August 1910), pp 162–165.
  4. ^ "Solomon Johnson Dead," The American Stationer, Jan. 25, 1913, p. 32.
  5. ^ "Alexander Williams", Publishers' Weekly, January 20, 1900, p.61-62.
  6. ^ "Boston Notes", New England Stationer and Printer, January 1900, p. 6.
  7. ^ "A Change at the "Old Corner"", Publishers' Weekly, April 14, 1883, p. 452.
  8. ^ Mott, Frank L. A History of American Magazines, 1865-1885 (Harvard Univ. Press, 1938), p. 5.
  9. ^ "The American News Company Up to Date," The American Newsman, vol. 10, no. 11 (November 1893), p. 4-5. Unsigned article reprinted from The New York Herald, October 1, 1893, 3rd section, p. 6 (as "A Vast System of Distribution").
  10. ^ "The Red Star News Company", Munsey's Magazine, December 1897, p. 478.
  11. ^ "Frank A. Munsey," Printers' Ink, March 20, 1907, p. 3.
  12. ^ a b "PERIODICAL DISTRIBS. v. AMERICAN NEWS CO.," UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK (October 15, 1968).
  13. ^ The Park Place buildings were designed by female architect Fay Kellogg. See: "New York's Real Lure for Women -- Opportunity," The New York Times (November 12, 1911). Accessed May 7, 2011.
  14. ^ Ashley, Michael (1976). The History of the Science Fiction Magazine Vol. 3 1946–1955. Chicago: Contemporary Books, Inc. p. 88. ISBN 0-8092-7842-1.
  15. ^ a b Michael Ashley, Transformations, pp. 191.
  16. ^ Jones, Gerard. Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book (Basic Books, 2004; trade paperback ISBN 0-465-03657-0
  17. ^ "Stan the Man & Roy the Boy: A Conversation Between Stan Lee and Roy Thomas," Comic Book Artist (2). Summer 1998. Archived from the original on November 14, 2009.

References

  • Ashley, Mike (2005). Transformations: The Story of the Science Fiction Magazines from 1950 to 1970. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-779-4.
  • Vadeboncoeur, Jim (based on a story uncovered by Brad Elliott). "The Great Atlas Implosion," The Jack Kirby Collector #18 (Jan. 1998) pp. 4–7.
Abraham Lincoln's Farewell Address

Abraham Lincoln's Farewell Address was a speech made by president-elect Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois on February 11, 1861 on his way to his inauguration in Washington, D.C. Several thousand citizens of Illinois gathered to see Lincoln depart. In response, Lincoln gave this brief, impromptu speech from his railroad car shortly before he departed:

My friends, no one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.

The speech moved members of his entourage so much that after the train started, he was asked to put his words into writing. Because of the difficulty of doing so on a moving train, Lincoln asked his personal secretary, John Nicolay, to finish copying it down after a few sentences.

A second version of the speech was published in a Springfield newspaper a few days later.

American comic book

An American comic book is a thin periodical, typically 32 pages, containing comics content. While the form originated in 1933, American comic books first gained popularity after the 1938 publication of Action Comics, which included the debut of the superhero Superman. This was followed by a superhero boom that lasted until the end of World War II. After the war, while superheroes were marginalized, the comic book industry rapidly expanded, and genres such as horror, crime, science fiction and romance became popular. The 1950s saw a gradual decline, due to a shift away from print media in the wake of television and the impact of the Comics Code Authority. The late 1950s and the 1960s saw a superhero revival, and superheroes remain the dominant character archetype in the 21st century.

Some fans collect comic books, helping drive up their value. Some have sold for more than US $1 million. Comic shops cater to fans, selling comic books, plastic sleeves ("bags") and cardboard backing ("boards") to protect the comic books.

An American comic book is also known as a floppy comic. It is typically thin and stapled, unlike traditional books. American comic books are one of the three major comic book schools globally, along with Japanese manga and the Franco-Belgian comic books.

Andrew Scott Irving

Andrew Scott Irving (13 October 1837 – 29 April 1904) was a Scottish-born Canadian bookseller and publisher.

Irving was born in Annan in Scotland. He moved with his parents to the United States while still young. He relocated to Hamilton in the Province of Canada around 1857 or 1858 and found employment with the Detroit-based W. E. Tunis, a book and periodical distributor with a monopoly on the Great Western Railway in Canada.

In autumn 1862 Irving set up a bookstore on King and Jordan streets in Toronto, and soon expanded into wholesale. By the 1870s he was issuing inexpensive reproductions of popular novels and sheet music of popular songs under the imprint Irving's Five Cent Music. The imprint published 750 sheet music issues; when is uncertain as they lack copyright notices, but evidence suggests they may have appeared as early as the late 1860s and had ceased at around the mid-1880s; the majority appear to have been published in the first half of the 1880s; few were explicitly Canadian in content, and only five are known to have been by Canadians.Printing for Irving was handled at John Ross Robertson's Daily Telegraph, and Irving later owned stock on Robertson's Telegram Printing and Publishing Company, which printed the Toronto Evening Telegram. In 1873, Irving financed the printing of John Wilson Bengough's humorous weekly Grip. In partnership with Russel Wilkinson he ran another bookstore on Toronto Street called A. S. Irving and Company from 1874 to 1876.Irving turned focus on the printing and distribution of inexpensive popular reading material, such as paperbound books, particularly to the lucrative train passenger market. With Copp, Clark and Company, in 1876 Irving co-founded the Canadian News Company Limited (later renamed the Toronto News Company Limited). He soon had a stock that was said to be second only to the New York-based American News Company. With Samuel Edward Dawson, W. V. Dawson, and Copp, Clark and Company, Irving was involved in the incorporation of the Montreal News Company in 1880. From 1881 Irving was a member of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, and was a director of the Great North Western Telegraph Company and other companies. The warehouse of the Toronto News Company in 1884 was a four-story building, selling stationery on the first floor, games and greeting cards on the second, mass-market books and sheet music on the third, and a distribution centre on the fourth, with a box for each customer of the company's in Canada, the US, and Britain.The majority of the shares in the Toronto News Company Limited were owned by two of the co-founders of the American News Company by 1889, and Irving's company eventually became a subsidiary of the American company, of which Irving owned shares. The Toronto News Company name itself lasted until 1918. With his wife Eliza (née Morgan), he had two sons and a daughter; one son died in childhood, another, Andrew Maxwell, died in 1896, and his daughter Nellie died in 1900. Irving's two granddaughters inherited most of his estate on his death in Toronto on 29 April 1904. Irving was buried in St. James Cemetery in Toronto.Irving is remembered as a pioneer in Canadian publishing, and had a reputation for discouraging the distribution of what was considered "trash" literature, promoting instead light literature with higher repute.

Avon (publisher)

Avon Publications is one of the top most publishers of romance fiction. At Avon's initial stages, it was an American paperback book and comic book publisher. The shift in content occurred in the early 1970's with multiple Avon romance titles reaching and maintaining spots in bestseller lists, demonstrating the market and potential profits in romance publication. As of 2010, Avon is an imprint of HarperCollins.

China Girl (1942 film)

China Girl is a 1942 drama film which follows the exploits of a newsreel photographer in China and Burma against the backdrop of World War II. The film was directed by Henry Hathaway, and stars Gene Tierney, George Montgomery, Lynn Bari and Victor McLaglen. It is also known as A Yank In China, Burma Road and Over The Burma Road.

Clara Lanza

Clara Hammond Lanza (February 12, 1858 – c. July 15, 1939) was an American novelist whose realist fiction often centered on troubled marriages. Several were praised for exhibiting realism and originality. She published her first work in 1884.

Fiji mermaid

The Fiji mermaid (also Feejee mermaid) was an object comprising the torso and head of a juvenile monkey sewn to the back half of a fish. It was a common feature of sideshows, where it was presented as the mummified body of a creature that was supposedly half mammal and half fish, a version of a mermaid. The original had fish scales with animal hair superimposed on its body with pendulous breasts on its chest. The mouth was wide open with its teeth bared. The right hand was against the right cheek, and the left tucked under its lower left jaw. This mermaid was supposedly caught near the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific. Several replicas and variations have also been made and exhibited under similar names and pretexts. The original object was exhibited by P.T. Barnum in Barnum's American Museum in New York in 1842 and then disappeared. It was assumed that it had been destroyed in one of Barnum's many fires that destroyed his collections.

Gathering Day

Gathering Day is a Welsh festival of the summer solstice, so called because it was the time when druids gathered mistletoe and other plants for use in winter. The energy of plants harvested at Midsummer was believed to be very potent, hence herbs were collected then for medicinal use; these herbs included mugwort and vervain.

This festival marks the first of the three harvests of the year and the time for collecting young tender vegetables such as peas, beans and early fruits. It is also the time for the collection of honey.

Imagination (magazine)

Imagination was an American fantasy and science fiction magazine first published in October 1950 by Raymond Palmer's Clark Publishing Company. The magazine was sold almost immediately to Greenleaf Publishing Company, owned by William Hamling, who published and edited it from the third issue, February 1951, for the rest of the magazine's life. Hamling launched a sister magazine, Imaginative Tales, in 1954; both ceased publication at the end of 1958 in the aftermath of major changes in US magazine distribution due to the liquidation of American News Company.

The magazine was more successful than most of the numerous science fiction titles launched in the late 1940s and early 1950s, lasting a total of 63 issues. Despite this success, the magazine had a reputation for low-quality space opera and adventure fiction, and modern literary historians refer to it in dismissive terms. Hamling consciously adopted an editorial policy oriented toward entertainment, asserting in an early issue that "science fiction was never meant to be an educational tour de force". Few of the stories from Imagination have received recognition, but it did publish Robert Sheckley's first professional sale, "Final Examination", in the May 1952 issue, and also printed fiction by Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein and John Wyndham.

Imaginative Tales

Imaginative Tales was an American fantasy and science fiction magazine launched in September 1954 by William Hamling's Greenleaf Publishing Company. It was created as a sister magazine to Imagination, which Hamling had acquired from Raymond A. Palmer's Clark Publishing in 1951. Both Imagination and Imaginative Tales ceased publication at the end of 1958 in the aftermath of major changes in US magazine distribution due to the liquidation of American News Company.

Imaginative Tales originally focused on fantasy, rather than science fiction, but later switched to science fiction adventure stories. With the July 1958 issue, Hamling changed the title to Space Travel in an attempt to bring in readers interested in space because of the recent launch of Sputnik, but the change did not improve circulation. The magazine folded in November 1958, having lasted for 26 issues in total. It published little of note, though it did feature stories by well-known writers such as Philip K. Dick and Harlan Ellison.

Jim Pattison Group

The Jim Pattison Group is a Vancouver-based conglomerate with interests in media, automotive dealerships, grocery store chains, magazine distribution, food service specialty packaging, advertising, real estate development, fishing, forest products, financial services, and entertainment. and, in a recent survey by the Financial Post, the firm was ranked as Canada’s 62nd largest company. Jim Pattison, a Vancouver-based entrepreneur, is the Chairman, CEO, and sole owner of the company. The Jim Pattison Group, Canada's second largest privately-held company, has more than 45,000 employees worldwide, and annual sales of $10.1 billion based on investments in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Europe, Asia and Australia. The Group is active in 25 divisions, according to Forbes, including packaging, food, forestry products.In late 2018, Pattison was still working full-time. According to Forbes, his net worth then was $5.7 billion, having increased substantially from the $2.1 billion reported in March 2009.

Marvel Tales

Marvel Tales is the title of three American comic-book series published by Marvel Comics, the first of them from the company's 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics. It is additionally the title of two unrelated, short-lived fantasy/science fiction magazines.

Mary Edwards Walker

Mary Edwards Walker (November 26, 1832 – February 21, 1919), commonly referred to as Dr. Mary Walker, was an American abolitionist, prohibitionist, prisoner of war and surgeon. She is the only woman to ever receive the Medal of Honor.In 1855, she earned her medical degree at Syracuse Medical College in New York, married and started a medical practice. She volunteered with the Union Army at the outbreak of the American Civil War and served as a surgeon at a temporary hospital in Washington, D.C., even though at the time women and sectarian physicians were considered unfit for the Union Army Examining Board. She was captured by Confederate forces after crossing enemy lines to treat wounded civilians and arrested as a spy. She was sent as a prisoner of war to Richmond, Virginia until released in a prisoner exchange.

After the war, she was approved for the Medal of Honor, for her efforts to treat the wounded during the Civil War. Notably, the award was not expressly given for gallantry in action at that time, and in fact was the only military decoration during the Civil War. Walker is the only woman to receive the medal and one of only eight civilians to receive it. Her name was deleted from the Army Medal of Honor Roll in 1917 (along with over 900 other male MOH recipients); however, it was restored in 1977. After the war, she was a writer and lecturer supporting the women's suffrage movement until her death in 1919.

National Book Award

The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final National Book Awards Ceremony every November, the National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards and two lifetime achievement awards to authors.

The National Book Awards were established in 1936 by the American Booksellers Association,

abandoned during World War II, and re-established by three book industry organizations in 1950. Non-U.S. authors and publishers were eligible for the pre-war awards. Now they are presented to U.S. authors for books published in the United States roughly during the award year.

The nonprofit National Book Foundation was established in 1988 to administer and enhance the National Book Awards and "move beyond [them] into the fields of education and literacy", primarily by sponsoring public appearances by writers.

Its mission is "to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture."In 2018, there were 1,637 books nominated for the five award categories, led by the Nonfiction category with 546 nominations. The 2018 ceremony was held on November 14 in New York City.

Plutocracy

A plutocracy (Greek: πλοῦτος, ploutos, 'wealth' + κράτος, kratos, 'power') or plutarchy is a society that is ruled or controlled by people of great wealth or income. The first known use of the term in English dates from 1631. Unlike systems such as democracy, capitalism, socialism or anarchism, plutocracy is not rooted in an established political philosophy. The concept of plutocracy may be advocated by the wealthy classes of a society in an indirect or surreptitious fashion, though the term itself is almost always used in a pejorative sense.

Pulp magazine

Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps") were inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from 1896 to the 1950s. The term pulp derives from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed. In contrast, magazines printed on higher-quality paper were called "glossies" or "slicks". The typical pulp magazine had 128 pages; it was 7 inches (18 cm) wide by 10 inches (25 cm) high, and 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) thick, with ragged, untrimmed edges.

The pulps gave rise to the term pulp fiction in reference to run-of-the-mill, low-quality literature. Pulps were the successors to the penny dreadfuls, dime novels, and short-fiction magazines of the 19th century. Although many respected writers wrote for pulps, the magazines were best known for their lurid, exploitative, and sensational subject matter. Modern superhero comic books are sometimes considered descendants of "hero pulps"; pulp magazines often featured illustrated novel-length stories of heroic characters, such as Flash Gordon, The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Phantom Detective.

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is an 1865 short story by Mark Twain. It was his first great success as a writer and brought him national attention. The story has also been published as "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog" (its original title) and "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". In it, the narrator retells a story he heard from a bartender, Simon Wheeler, at the Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, about the gambler Jim Smiley. The narrator describes him: "If he even seen a straddle bug start to go anywheres, he would bet you how long it would take him to get to wherever he going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle bug to Mexico but what he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the road."

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches is also the title story of an 1867 collection of short stories by Mark Twain. It was Twain's first book and collected 27 stories that were previously published in magazines and newspapers.

Toby Press

Toby Press was an American comic-book company that published from 1949 to 1955. Founded by Elliott Caplin, brother of cartoonist Al Capp and himself an established comic strip writer, the company published reprints of Capp's Li'l Abner strip; licensed-character comics starring such film and animated cartoon properties as John Wayne and Felix the Cat; and original conceptions, including romance, war, Western, and adventure comics. Some of its comics were published under the imprint Minoan. Some covers bore the logo ANC, standing for American News Company, at the time the country's largest newsstand distributor.

It is unrelated to the book publisher Toby Press, acquired by Amazon.com in 2010.

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was an American politician, soldier, international statesman, and author, who served as the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877. During the American Civil War Grant led the Union Army as its commanding general to victory over the Confederacy with the supervision of President Abraham Lincoln. During the Reconstruction Era President Grant led the Republicans in their efforts to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism, racism, and slavery.

From early childhood in Ohio, Grant was a skilled equestrian who had a talent for taming horses. He graduated from West Point in 1843 and served with distinction in the Mexican–American War. Upon his return, Grant married Julia Dent, and together they had four children. In 1854, Grant abruptly resigned from the army. He and his family struggled financially in civilian life for seven years. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Grant joined the Union Army and rapidly rose in rank to general. Grant was persistent in his pursuit of the Confederate enemy, winning major battles and gaining Union control of the Mississippi River. In March 1864, President Abraham Lincoln promoted Grant to Lieutenant General, a rank previously reserved for George Washington. For over a year Grant's Army of the Potomac fought the Army of Northern Virginia led by Robert E. Lee in the Overland Campaign and at Petersburg. On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, and the war ended.

On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated. Grant continued his service under Lincoln's successor President Andrew Johnson, and was promoted General of the Army in 1866. Disillusioned by Johnson's conservative approach to Reconstruction, Grant drifted toward the "Radical" Republicans. Elected the youngest 19th Century president in 1868, Grant stabilized the post-war national economy, created the Department of Justice, and prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan. He appointed African-Americans and Jewish-Americans to prominent federal offices. In 1871, Grant created the first Civil Service Commission. The Democrats and Liberal Republicans united behind Grant's opponent in the presidential election of 1872, but Grant was handily re-elected. Grant's new Peace Policy for Native Americans had both successes and failures. Grant's administration successfully resolved the Alabama claims and the Virginius Affair, but Congress rejected his Dominican annexation initiative. Grant's presidency was plagued by numerous public scandals, while the Panic of 1873 plunged the nation into a severe economic depression.

After Grant left office in March 1877, he embarked on a two-and-a-half-year world tour that captured favorable global attention for him and the United States. In 1880, Grant was unsuccessful in obtaining the Republican presidential nomination for a third term. In the final year of his life, facing severe investment reversals and dying of throat cancer, he wrote his memoirs, which proved to be a major critical and financial success. At the time of his death, he was memorialized as a symbol of national unity.

Historical assessments of Grant's legacy have varied considerably over the years. Historians have hailed Grant's military genius, and his strategies are featured in military history textbooks. Stigmatized by multiple scandals, Grant's presidency has traditionally been ranked among the worst. Modern scholars have shown greater appreciation for his achievements that included civil rights enforcement and has raised his historical reputation. Grant has been regarded as an embattled president who performed a difficult job during Reconstruction.

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