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Alfred A. Knopf

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Alfred A. Knopf
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{{about|the publishing house|the person|Alfred A. Knopf Sr.|other people named "Knopf"|Knopf (surname)}}







factoids
}}Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ({{IPAc-en|k|n|É’|p|f}}) is a New York publishing house that was founded by Alfred A. Knopf Sr. and Blanche Knopf in 1915.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016}} Blanche and Alfred traveled abroad regularly and were known for publishing European, Asian, and Latin American writers in addition to leading American literary trends. It was acquired by Random House in 1960, which was later acquired by Bertelsmann in 1998, and is now part of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.WEB,weblink Alfred A. Knopf Inc.: Organizational History, 2009-07-04, Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin, The Knopf publishing house is associated with its borzoi colophon, which was designed by co-founder Blanche Knopf in 1925.NEWS,weblink A Century of Alfred A. Knopf, Swanson, Clare, 15 May 2015, 24 September 2015, Publisher's Weekly,

History

(File:Portrait of Alfred Knopf and Blanche Knopf LCCN2004663143.jpg|thumb|Portrait of Alfred Knopf and Blanche Knopf LCCN2004663143)

Early years

1915–1920

Knopf was founded in 1915 by Alfred A. Knopf Sr. along with Blanche Knopf, on a $5,000 advance from his father, Samuel Knopf. The first office was located in New York's Candler Building.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=29-47}} The publishing house was officially incorporated in 1918, with Alfred Knopf as president, Blanche Knopf as vice president, and Samuel Knopf as treasurer.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=54-57}}From the start, Knopf focused on European translations and high-brow works of literature. Among their initial publications were French author Émile Augier's Four Plays, Russian writer Nikolai Gogol's Taras Bulba, Polish novelist Stanisław Przybyszewski's novel Homo Sapiens, and French writer Guy de Maupassant's Yvette, a Novelette, and Ten Other Stories.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=29-47}} During World War I these books were cheap to obtain and helped establish Knopf as an American firm publishing European works.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|page=5}} Their first bestseller was a new edition of Green Mansions, a novel by W. H. Hudson which went through nine printings by 1919 and sold over 20,000 copies.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=29-47}} Their first original American novel, The Three Black Pennys by Joseph Hergesheimer, was published in 1917.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=29-47}}

1920s

With the start of the 1920s Knopf began using innovative advertising techniques to draw attention to their books and authors. Beginning in 1920, Knopf produced a chapbook, for the purpose of promoting new books. (iarchive:beingsborzoi192000alfrrich|The Borzoi) was published periodically over the years, the first being a hardback called the Borzoi and sometimes quarterly as the Borzoi Quarterly.WEB,weblink About the Borzoi Reader Online, 2016-04-06, For Floyd Dell's coming-of-age novel, Moon-Calf, they paid men to walk the streets of the financial and theatre districts dressed in artist costumes with sandwich boards. The placards had a copy of the book for browsing and directed interested buyers to local book shops.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=65-78}}(File:RR v01 d077 russian literature - advertisement by alfred a knopf.jpg|thumb|Advertisement by Knopf)The unique look of their books along with their expertise in advertising their authors drew Willa Cather to leave her previous publisher Houghton Mifflin to join Alfred A. Knopf.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=61-63}} As she was still under contract for her novels, the Knopfs suggested publishing a collection of her short stories, Youth and the Bright Medusa in 1920.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=61-63}} Cather was pleased with the results and the advertisement of the book in the New Republic and would go on to publish sixteen books with Knopf including their first Pulitzer prize winner, One Of Ours.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=61-63}}Before they had married, Alfred had promised Blanche that they would be equal partners in the publishing company, but it was clear by the company's fifth anniversary that this was not to be the case. Knopf published a celebratory 5th anniversary book in which Alfred was the focus of anecdotes by authors and Blanche's name was only mentioned once to note that "Mrs. Knopf" had found a manuscript. This despite ample evidence from authors and others that Blanche was in fact the soul of the company. This was covered extensively in The Lady with the Borzoi by Laura Claridge.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016}}In 1923 Knopf also started publishing periodicals, beginning with The American Mercury, founded by H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan, which it published through 1934.WEB,weblink Alfred A. Knopf — First Edition Identification, Biblio.com, en, 2017-06-01, 1923 also marked the year that Knopf published Kahlil Gibran's the Prophet. Knopf had published Gibran's earlier works which had disappointing sales. In its first year, the Prophet only sold 1,159 copies. It would double sales the next year and keep doubling becoming one of the firm's most successful books. In 1965 the book sold 240,000 copies.BOOK,weblink The lady with the Borzoi : Blanche Knopf, literary tastemaker extraordinaire, Claridge, Laura, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016, 9780374114251, New York, 81–83, 908176194,

1930s

Samuel Knopf died in 1932. William A. Koshland joined the company in 1934, and worked with the firm for more than fifty years, rising to take the positions of President and Chairman of the Board. Blanche became President in 1957 when Alfred became Chairman of the Board, and worked steadily for the firm until her death in 1966. Alfred Knopf retired in 1972, becoming chairman emeritus of the firm until his death in 1984. Alfred Knopf also had a summer home in Purchase, New York.

1940s

Following the Good Neighbor policy, Blanche Knopf visited South America in 1942, so the firm could start producing texts from there. She was one of the first publishers to visit Europe after World War II. Her trips, and those of other editors, brought in new writers from Europe, South America, and Asia. Alfred traveled to Brazil in 1961, which spurred a corresponding interest on his part in South America. Penn Publishing Company was acquired in 1943. The Knopfs' son, Alfred "Pat" Jr., was hired on as secretary and trade books manager after the war.

1950s

In 1952, editor Judith Jones joined Knopf as an editor. Jones, who had discovered Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl while working at Doubleday, acquired Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Knopf.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=297-298}} Jones would remain with Knopf, retiring in 2011 as a senior editor and vice-president after a career that included working with John Updike and Anne Tyler.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=297-298}}Pat Knopf left his parents' publishing company in 1959 to launch his own, Atheneum Publishers, with two other partners.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=302-303}} The story made the front page of the New York Times.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016|pages=302-303}}NEWS,weblink 3 Book Executives Forming Own Firm, Robert Conley, March 15, 1959, The New York Times, subscription, 2018-05-12, en, In a 1957 advertisement in the Atlantic Monthly, Alfred A. Knopf published the Borzoi Credo. The credo includes a list of what Knopf's beliefs for publishing including the statement that he never published an unworthy book. Among a list of beliefs listed is the final one--"I believe that magazines, movies, television, and radio will never replace good books."WEB, Knopf, Alfred A., The Borzoi Credo,weblink Borzoi Reader, 24 September 2015,

Acquisition by Random House

In 1960 Random House acquired Alfred A. Knopf. It is believed that the decision to sell was prompted by Alfred A. Knopf, Jr., leaving Knopf to found his own book company, Atheneum Books in 1959.BOOK, Korda, Michael, Another life : a memoir of other people, 1999, Random House, New York, 0679456597, 1st, Since its founding, Knopf has paid close attention to design and typography,WEB,weblink Knopf: Then and Now, 21 October 2009, 2010-04-06, AIGA/NY, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20100616043338weblink">weblink 2010-06-16, employing notable designers and typographers including William Addison Dwiggins, Harry Ford, Steven Heller, Chip Kidd, Lorraine Louie, Bruce Rogers, Rudolf Ruzicka, and Beatrice Warde. Knopf books conclude with an unnumbered page titled "A Note on the Type", which describes the history of the typeface used for the book. In addition, Knopf books date the year of the book's current printing on the title page.Knopf published textbooks until 1988, when Random House's schools and colleges division was sold to McGraw-Hill.NEWS,weblink McGraw-Hill Is Buying 2 Random House Units, Edwin McDowell, The New York Times, September 29, 1988, In 1991, Knopf revived the "Everyman's Library" series, originally published in England in the early 20th century. This series consists of classics of world literature in affordable hardcover editions. The series has grown over the years to include lines of Children's Classics and Pocket Poets.Random House was acquired by Bertelsmann AG in 1998. In late 2008 and early 2009, the Knopf Publishing Group merged with Doubleday to form the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.WEB,weblink Shakeups hit Random House, other publishers, Flamm, Matthew, 2008-12-03, 2010-04-06, Crain's New York Business, Random House has been owned since its 2013 merger of Penguin Group by Penguin Random House, a joint venture between Bertelsmann (53%) and Pearson PLC (47%).Many of Knopf's hardcover books are published later as Vintage paperbacks. Vintage Books is a sister imprint of Random House.{{fact|date=August 2018}}In October 2012, Bertelsmann entered into talks with rival conglomerate Pearson plc, over the possibility of combining their respective publishing companies, Random House and Penguin Group. The merger was completed on 1 July 2013 and the new company is Penguin Random House.NEWS, Penguin and Random House in deal talks, 26 October 2012,weblink Edgecliffe-Johnson, Andrew, Wiesmann, Gerrit, 2013-08-12, Financial Times, Media, {{Registration required}} Bertelsmann owns 53% of the joint venture while Pearson owns 47%.NEWS,weblink Penguin and Random House Merge, Saying Change Will Come Slowly, Bosman, Julie, 2013-07-01, The New York Times, 0362-4331, 2016-04-04, At the time of the acquisition the combined companies controlled 25% of the book business with more than 10,000 employees and 250 independent publishing imprints and with about $3.9 billion in annual revenues. The move to consolidate was to provide leverage against Amazon.com and battle the shrinking state of bookstores.In 2015, Knopf celebrated its 100th Anniversary by publishing a commemorative book, Alfred A. Knopf, 1915-2015: A Century of Publishing.

Notable people

Notable editors and publishers

While there have been many notable editors at Knopf there have only been three editors-in-chief: Alfred A. Knopf, Sr., Robert Gottlieb and Sonny Mehta. Other influential editors at Knopf included Harold Strauss (Japanese literature), Herbert Weinstock (biography of musical composers), Judith Jones (culinary texts), as well as Angus Cameron, Charles Elliott, Gary Fisketjon, Lee Goerner, Ashbel Green, Carol Brown Janeway, Michael Magzis, Anne McCormick, Nancy Nicholas, Daniel Okrent, Regina Ryan, Sophie Wilkins, and Victoria Wilson. Knopf also employed literary scouts to good advantage.Knopf, Alfred A.: Portrait of a Publisher, 1915-1965. 2 vols. New York: Typophiles, 1965.

Notable authors

{{Further|List of Alfred A. Knopf authors}}Alfred A. Knopf has published thousands of books from thousands of authors, including Albert Camus, John Banville, Carl Bernstein, Robert Caro, Willa Cather, Julia Child, Bill Clinton, Joan Didion, Bret Easton Ellis, James Ellroy, Martin Gardner, Kahlil Gibran, Lee H. Hamilton, Kazuo Ishiguro, John Keegan, Anne Rice, Nella Larsen, Jack London, Gabriel García Márquez, Cormac McCarthy, Toni Morrison, Haruki Murakami, Christopher Paolini, Ezra Pound, Dorothy Richardson, Stephen M. Silverman, Susan Swan, Anne Tyler, Andrew Vachss, James D. Watson, and Elinor Wylie.

Awards{| class"wikitable sortable"

! Year !! Award !! Category !! Title !! AuthorPulitzer PrizeHTTP://WWW.PULITZER.ORG/AWARDS/2013 TITLE=2013 WINNERS AND FINALISTSStag's Leap>| Sharon OldsPulitzer Prize >A Visit from the Goon Squad >| Jennifer EganPulitzer Prize >The First Tycoon >| T.J. StilesPulitzer Prize >The Road (novel)>The Road Cormac McCarthyPulitzer Prize >(de Kooning: An American Master) >| Mark Stevens and Annalyn SwanPulitzer Prize >Walking to Martha's Vineyard >| Franz WrightPulitzer Prize >Master of the Senate >| Robert A. CaroPulitzer Prize >Empire Falls >| Richard RussoPulitzer Prize >Founding Brothers >| Joseph J. EllisPulitzer Prize >Blizzard of One >| Mark StrandPulitzer Prize >Personal History>Personal History'' Katharine GrahamPulitzer Prize >Original Meanings >| Jack N. RakovePulitzer Prize >Independence Day >| Richard FordPulitzer Prize > >| Jack MilesPulitzer Prize >William Cooper's Town >Alan Taylor (historian)>Alan TaylorPulitzer Prize >The Simple Truth >Philip Levine (poet)>Philip LevinePulitzer Prize >The Beak of the Finch >| Jonathan WeinerPulitzer Prize >The Radicalism of the American Revolution >| Gordon S. WoodPulitzer Prize >A Thousand Acres >| Jane SmileyPulitzer Prize >A Midwife's Tale >| Laurel Thatcher UlrichPulitzer Prize >Rabbit at Rest >| John UpdikePulitzer Prize >Near Changes >| Mona Van DuynPulitzer Prize >Oscar Wilde >| Richard EllmannPulitzer Prize >Breathing Lessons >| Anne TylerPulitzer Prize >The Launching of Modern American Science, 1846–1876>The Launching of Modern American Science, 1846-1876 Robert V. BrucePulitzer Prize >Partial Accounts >| William MeredithPulitzer Prize >Beloved (novel)>Beloved Toni MorrisonPulitzer Prize >(Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution>Voyagers to the West) Bernard BailynPulitzer Prize >A Summons to Memphis >Peter Matthew Hillsman Taylor>Peter TaylorPulitzer Prize >Louise Bogan >| Elizabeth FrankPulitzer Prize >Common Ground (book)>Common Ground J. Anthony LukasPulitzer Prize >Rabbit Is Rich >| John UpdikePulitzer Prize >(Peter the Great: His Life and World>Peter the Great) Robert K. MassiePulitzer Prize >Fin-de-Siècle Vienna >Carl Emil Schorske>Carl E. SchorskePulitzer Prize >Been In the Storm So Long >| Leon F. LitwackPulitzer Prize >The Stories of John Cheever >| John CheeverPulitzer Prize >(The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York) >| Robert A. CaroPulitzer Prize >People of Paradox >| Michael KammenPulitzer Prize >Huey Long >| T. Harry WilliamsPulitzer Prize >(Exploration and Empire: The Explorer and the Scientist in the Winning of the American West>Exploration and Empire) William H. GoetzmannPulitzer Prize >The Keepers of the House >| Shirley Ann GrauPulitzer Prize >Anti-Intellectualism in American Life >| Richard HofstadterPulitzer Prize >The Triumphant Empire: Thunder-Clouds Gather in the West >| Lawrence H. GipsonPulitzer Prize >Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War >| David HerbertPulitzer Prize >Heart's Needle >| W. D. SnodgrassPulitzer Prize >The Age of Reform >| Richard HofstadterPulitzer Prize >Collected Poems: Wallace Stevens >| Wallace StevensPulitzer Prize >The Town (Richter novel)>The Town Conrad RichterPulitzer Prize >John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy >| Samuel Flagg BemisPulitzer Prize >Son of the Wilderness >| Linnie Marsh WolfePulitzer Prize >A Bell for Adano (novel)>A Bell for Adano John HerseyPulitzer Prize >George Bancroft: Brahmin Rebel >| Russel Blaine NyePulitzer Prize >The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F. B. Morse >| Carleton MabeePulitzer Prize >Collected Verse >| Robert HillyerPulitzer Prize >Fiddler's Farewell >| Leonora SpeyerPulitzer Prize >One of Ours >| Willa CatherNational Book AwardHTTP://WWW.NATIONALBOOK.ORG/ PUBLISHER=NATIONAL BOOK AWARDThe First Tycoon >| T.J. StilesNational Book Award >The Year of Magical Thinking >| Joan DidionNational Book Award >Master of the Senate >| Robert A. CaroNational Book Award >American Sphinx The Character of Thomas Jefferson >| Joseph J. EllisNational Book Award >How We Die >| Sherwin B. NulandNational Book Award >All the Pretty Horses (novel)>All the Pretty Horses Cormac McCarthyNational Book Award >What Work Is >Philip Levine (poet)>Philip LevineNational Book Award >Spartina >John Casey (novelist)>John CaseyNational Book Award >Common Ground (book)>Common Ground J. Anthony LukasNational Book Award >Voices of Protest >| Alan BrinkleyNational Book Award >Rabbit is Rich >| John UpdikeNational Book Award >Sister Wolf >| Ann ArensbergNational Book Award >The Stories of John Cheever >| John CheeverNational Book Award >China Men >| Maxine Hong KingstonNational Book Award >Been in the Storm So Long >| Leon F. LitwackNational Book Award >By Myself >| Lauren BacallNational Book Award >Julia Child and More Company >| Julia ChildNational Book Award >A Distant Mirror >| Barbara W. TuchmanNational Book Award >Birdy (novel)>Birdy William WhartonNational Book Award >The Uses of Enchantment >| Bruno BettelheimNational Book Award >J R >| William GaddisNational Book Award >All God's Dangers >| Theodore RosengartenNational Book Award >Macaulay >| John CliveNational Book Award >The Collected Works of Frank O'Hara >| Frank O'HaraNational Book Award >Huey Long >| T. Harry WilliamsNational Book Award >The Enlightenment, Vol. 1 >| Peter GayNational Book Award >The Centaur >| John UpdikeNational Book Award >The Moviegoer >| Walker PercyNational Book Award >The Waters of Kronos >| Conrad RichterNational Book Award >The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens >| Wallace StevensNational Book Award >The Auroras of Autumn >| Wallace StevensNobel Prize >| Kazuo IshiguroNobel Prize >| Alice MunroNobel Prize >| Doris LessingNobel Prize >| Orhan PamukNobel Prize >| Imre KertészNobel Prize >| V.S. NaipaulNobel Prize >| Günter GrassNobel Prize >| Toni MorrisonNobel Prize >| Nadine GordimerNobel Prize >| Gabriel Garcia MarquezNobel Prize >| Czeslaw MiloszNobel Prize >| Heinrich BollNobel Prize >| Yasunari KawabataNobel Prize >| Mikhail SholokhovNobel Prize >| Jean-Paul Sartre (declined)Nobel Prize >| Ivo AndricNobel Prize >| Albert CamusNobel Prize >Halldór Laxness>Halldor K. LaxnessNobel Prize >| André GideNobel Prize >| Johannes V. JensenNobel Prize >Frans Eemil Sillanpää>Frans E. SillanpaaNobel Prize >| Thomas MannNobel Prize >| Sigrid UndsetNobel Prize >Władysław Reymont>Wladyslaw S. ReymontNobel Prize >| Knut HamsunNobel Prize >| Verner von Heidenstam

Logo

The logo for Knopf is a Russian wolfhound or Borzoi.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016}} Blanche Knopf suggested the Borzoi for the logo to imply motion and the logo was used on both the spine and the title page of their books.{{sfnp|Claridge|2016}}

References

{{reflist}}{{ref begin}}
  • BOOK, The lady with the Borzoi : Blanche Knopf, literary tastemaker extraordinaire, Claridge, Laura, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016, 9780374114251, First, New York, 908176194, harv,
{{ref end}}

External links

{{Wikisource publisher|Alfred A. Knopf}} {{Penguin Random House}}{{Authority control}}{{Use dmy dates|date=June 2017}}

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