Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

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The publishing company Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. was founded in 1945 as Farrar, Straus & Company by John Farrar and Roger Straus.

After numerous changes in management and corresponding changes in name, the company became known as Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. (FSG) in 1964 when Robert Giroux became editor-in-chief. The company firmly established itself as a quality publisher in the 1960s and '70s. FSG remained staunchly independent of conglomerate publishing for many years. Even after selling controlling interest to the German publisher Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck in 1994, FSG maintained much of the freedom of an independent publishing house.

From the description of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. records, 1899-2003 (bulk 1945-1989). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 86164357

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

John Farrar and Roger W. Straus, Jr. founded Farrar, Straus & Company in New York City in 1945. Farrar, of Farrar & Rinehart, left that firm in 1944 after returning from overseas duty in the Office of War Information. Straus, in addition to a background in journalism and magazine editing, had the necessary financial resources to launch a publishing house; Straus' mother was a Guggenheim, and his father's family were the Strauses who owned Macy's. The original board included Farrar as chairman, Straus as president and chief executive officer, and Stanley Young, the well-known author and literary critic for the New York Times .

The company's first title, issued under a joint imprint with Duell, Sloan & Pearce, was Yank, the G.I Story of the War, a compilation of material from Yank, the Army's famous weekly publication. The first list included James Branch Cabell's There Were Two Pirates, a posthumous collection of short stories by Stephen Vincent Bent, an historical novel by Willa Gibbs, and Theodor Reik's Ritual: Psychoanalytic Studies, none of which were substantially lucrative.

Despite publishing such works of quality as Carlo Levi's Christ Stopped at Eboli (1947), Shirley Jackson's The Lottery (1949) and Alberto Moravia's The Woman of Rome (1949), the company remained in financial ill health until 1950. In that year, however, the firm successfully executed a number of coups saving it from ruin and placing it on the road to prominence. Early that year, (Benjamin) Gayelord Hauser, the popular fitness expert, having recently left the house of Coward-McCann, Inc., published Look Younger, Live Longer, partly ghost-written by Frances Warfield Hackett, with Farrar, Straus & Company. The book was a shot in the arm for the fledgling house, selling 300,000 copies in 1950 and 500,000 during the next ten years. The company executed another coup that year when Edmund Wilson left Doubleday due to a dispute over a legal bill and joined the Farrar, Straus & Company list. Straus also contracted for a collection of essays by Wilson which Random House had turned down the previous year. The essays were published in 1950 as Classics and Commercials, a literary chronicle of the 1940s. Wilson would remain on the company's list for the rest of his life.

Also in 1950, Andr Gide was added to the list, and Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein's What the Jews Believe and Quentin Reynold's Courtroom proved to be bestsellers. With Young's rise to the rank of editor in December, the company underwent the first of many changes in name, becoming Farrar, Straus & Young. The following year witnessed yet another substantial step forward as the company acquired Creative Age Press from Eileen Garrett, thereby adding Robert Graves, Gerald Sykes and James Reynolds to its list.

In 1953, the acquisition of the Chicago company of Pellegrini & Cudahy brought with it not only the children's book company of Ariel Books but also a new partner, Sheila Cudahy, who replaced Young after he resigned his managerial and editorial functions, while still remaining a member of the board. After briefly changing its name back to Farrar, Straus & Company, the firm became Farrar, Straus & Cudahy in 1955. Cudahy added many authors of Catholic interest to the firm's list. Accordingly, 1955 saw the beginning of Vision Books, a series of biographies of Catholic saints, martyrs and heroic figures designed for young (nine- to thirteen-year-old) readers. In the same vein, 1958 saw the acquisition of the Catholic publishing company of McMullen Books, Inc. The firm further established its reputation as a house of quality during the 1950s by publishing Marguerite Yourcenar's Hadrian's Memoirs as well as The Mask of Innocence and The Lamb written by the Nobel Laureate Franois Mauriac.

In 1955, Robert Giroux joined the firm as both editor-in-chief and vice-president. Giroux's first editing experience, while a student at Columbia University, was for The Columbia Review in which he published such future Farrar, Straus & Giroux authors as John Berryman and Thomas Merton. Giroux had been editor-in-chief of Harcourt Brace & Company since 1948 when he left for Farrar, Straus bringing with him seventeen new authors including T. S. Eliot, Flannery O'Connor, John Berryman and Bernard Malamud. Never before had such a large number of important authors followed an editor from one house to another. In 1964, two years after Cudahy's departure, Robert Lowell's For the Union Dead became the first title to be published under the Farrar, Straus & Giroux (FSG) imprint. Under the combined leadership of these three men, the company firmly established itself as a quality house in the 1960s and 1970s.

Over the years, FSG has acquired many publishing houses of quality. In 1957, the firm purchased L. C. Page & Company, a long-established publisher of children's books and reprints of classic novels (see " Organizational History: L. C. Page" below). The acquisition of Noonday Press, Inc. in 1960 added the Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer to the house's list. The acquisitions of Octagon Books, Inc. in 1968 and Hill & Wang, Inc. in 1971 (see "Organizational History: Hill & Wang" below) further strengthened the company.

After John Farrar's retirement in 1972, and death two years later, Roger Straus took on a greater leadership role in the company, becoming a staunch opponent of conglomerate takeovers in publishing. In the late 1970s, Straus resigned from the Association of American Publishers because of what he considered to be its tendency to defend conglomerates over authors and independent publishers.

In the 1970s and 1980s other editors shaped FSG's. In 1971, Pat Strachan was hired as an assistant editor. Strachan received her undergraduate degree at Duke University, after which she attended the Radcliffe Publishing Program, before moving to New York City. While at FSG she edited such noteworthy authors as Joseph Brodsky, John McPhee, Tom Wolfe, Derek Walcott, Larry Heinemann, Czeslaw Milosz, Lydia Davis and Marilynne Robinson, among others. She eventually rose to the position of vice president and associate publisher at the company before leaving in 1987 to be the fiction editor at The New Yorker . She later worked at Harcourt, Houghton Mifflin, and Little, Brown.

Roger Straus, Jr. and his wife Dorothea had one son, Roger Straus III. Educated at the Choate School and Columbia College, Roger III had always planned to go into publishing. In 1966, Roger III joined FSG as a junior editor before moving to the marketing department of Harper and Row in 1975, desirous to cut his own way in the profession. In 1985, Roger III returned to FSG to be an editor. Roger III sought to expand FSG's interests into more mass market books, signing and editing books like Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent . Father and son had conflicting goals and in 1993, Roger III left FSG for the final time to pursue a career of professional photography.

Linda Healey, formerly an editor at Simon & Schuster and Berkeley books, as well as a managing editor of the Partisan Review came to FSG as a vice president, associate publisher and executive editor in 1988. Healey was hired to edit journalistic nonfiction; while at FSG she edited Stefan Kanfer, Richard Isay, Kati Marton and John McPhee, among others. Her term at FSG was prematurely shortened in 1992 due to cutbacks caused by the early 1990's recession. Healey went on to work at Pantheon Books until her retirement.

In 1994, FSG sold controlling interest to the German publisher Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck, a company which also owns Henry Holt and St. Martin's Press. Nonetheless, Farrar, Straus & Giroux has retained much of the freedom of an independent publishing house.

By 1990, FSG had published the following Pulitzer Prize-winning books: 77 Dream Songs (1965) by John Berryman, The Fixer (1967) by Bernard Malamud, Collected Stories (1970) by Jean Stafford, The Dolphin (1974) by Robert Lowell, Lamy of Santa Fe (1975) by Paul Horgan, The Morning of the Poem (1981) by James Schuyler and The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (1990) by Oscar Hijuelos. Between 1945 and 1985, the firm published the work of thirteen authors who were, or who were to become, Nobel laureates. They include Joseph Brodsky, Elias Canetti, T.S. Eliot, William Golding, Nadine Gordimer, Knut Hamsun, Hermann Hesse, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Franois Mauriac, Czeslaw Milosz, Salvatore Quasimodo, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Derek Walcott among others.

In addition to its many Nobel and Pulitzer prize-winning authors, FSG has assured its financial independence by occasionally publishing books directed toward a popular audience. In addition to works by Gayelord Hauser, such books include David Stern's Francis (1946), a story about a talking mule; Kenneth Heuer's Men of Other Planets (1950); and Dorothy Finkelhor's How to Make Your Emotions Work for You (1952). The children's division has published numerous award-winning books including three Caldecott Medal Books, nine Caldecott Honor Books, three Newbery Medal Books, nine Newbery Honor Books, three National Book Award winners, eleven National Book Award Finalists, three Michael L. Printz Honor Books, and two Robert F. Sibert Honor Books.

Hill & Wang

Hill and Wang (H & W) was founded in 1952 by Lawrence Hill and Arthur Wang. Arthur Wang was born in 1918 in Westchester, New York and received his undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College. In 1942, he joined Garden City Publishing Co., a division of Doubleday, as an editor. From there he moved to Alfred A. Knopf, T.Y. Crowell, and A.A. Wyn, where he became an editor-in-chief and met Lawrence Hill, then a sales manager. Hill and Wang started their own firm with the purchase of Wyn's entire backlist of eighty-eight titles.

Hill & Wang (H & W) earned its initial reputation by inaugurating the Dramabooks series (1952). Dramabooks originally presented the work of such drama critics as G. K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw. Its Mermaids series also presented seventeenth-century English plays. Eventually, the works of such twentieth-century playwrights as Jean Cocteau, Jean Giraudoux, Jean Anouilh, Max Frisch and Arthur Kopit were added to the Dramabooks series. Dramabooks also includes ten volumes of Lanford Wilson's plays including Hot L Baltimore (1970).

In 1959, H & W bought the rights to twenty-six titles in the American Century series from Thomas Yoseloff. This was the beginning of extensive publishing of U.S. literature by the firm. H & W also published scholarly nonfiction in the areas of semiotics, science, and politics. The company published translations of eighteen books by Roland Barthes, Elements of Semiology (1977) and A Lover's Discourse (1977) among them. In 1979, H & W published an illustrated edition of Darwin's The Origin of Species abridged and annotated by the paleontologist Richard Leakey. In 1960, H & W published Elie Wiesel's Night, a book that over a dozen other publishers had refused. A number of political titles prepared by the American Friends Service Committee have appeared under the H & W imprint. These include Peace in Vietnam (1968), Struggle for Justice (1971) and A Compassionate Peace (1982).

In 1971, Farrar, Straus & Giroux acquired H & W, making the company a division of FSG in the process. That same year, Hill left to form his own publishing company, Lawrence Hill & Company. Wang became editor-in-chief of the H & W division and a stockholder, vice-president and member of the board of directors of FSG until he retired in 1998.

L.C. Page & Company

In 1891, having recently graduated from Harvard, Lewis Coues Page began working for the Boston publishing firm of Estes & Lauriat. Page was soon made treasurer of the Joseph Knight Company, a division of Estes & Lauriat. When Knight resigned in 1896, Page assumed leadership of Knight's former company and renamed it L. C. Page & Company. Although L. C. Page initially published such contemporary novelists as Gabriele d'Annunzio, it soon found a niche in juvenile series including Lucy Maud Montgomery's popular Anne of Green Gables series beginning in 1908. But the greatest success of all was the 1913 publication of Eleanor Hodgman Porter's Pollyana . The story of the tirelessly cheerful young Pollyanna sold more than a million copies in its first year. The multi-volume series which followed, written mostly by other authors, led to the addition of the word "Pollyanna" to North American English. In addition to its series for young readers, the company published reprints of established classics by authors such as Victor Hugo, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens and Alexandre Dumas.

The literary conservatism of L.C. Page & Company, however, proved to be the undoing of its independence. Mr. Page abhorred what he called "sophisticated literature," by which he evidently meant contemporary fiction especially if by a foreign author. In 1937, he declared that the great bulk of the U.S. public simply wanted reprints of classics and had no taste for more modern writing. Predictably, the company's sales declined. In 1957, the year following Page's death, his firm was acquired by Farrar, Straus & Cudahy, Inc. which had become successful publishing the very literature which Page had disdained. FSG continued the L. C. Page imprint until 1980.

From the guide to the Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. records, 1899-2003, 1945-1989, (The New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Foster, Frances. Correspondence with Chaim Potok, 1995-2001. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn George P. Garrett Papers, 1929-2008, (bulk 1960-2000) David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
referencedIn Shawn, William. William Shawn letters relating to Edmund Wilson, 1960-1985. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Vera Zorina papers, 1910-2001 (inclusive), 1933-2001 (bulk). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Correspondence to Chaim Potok, 1996. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn E. E. Cummings additional papers, 1870-1969. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Wilson, Edmund, 1895-1972. Edmund Wilson papers, 1829-1986 (bulk 1920-1972). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf White, E. B. (Elwyn Brooks), 1899-1985. E. B. White collection, 1899-1999. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Van Dyke, Henry. Papers, 1954- University of Michigan
referencedIn Marguerite Yourcenar additional papers, 1842-1996. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Marguerite Yourcenar papers, 1920-1986. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Yourcenar, Marguerite. English translations of Marguerite Yourcenar by Walter Jacob Kaiser, 1983-1986. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn John Chipman Farrar papers, 1916-1974 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn E. B. White collection, 1899-1985. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Joseph Brodsky papers, circa 1890-2004, 1972-1996 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. records, 1899-2003, 1945-1989 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. records, 1899-2003 (bulk 1945-1989). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Brodsky, Joseph, 1940-1996. Joseph Brodsky papers, circa 1890-2004. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Algren, Nelson, 1909-1981. person
associatedWith Aradi, Zsolt, Dr person
associatedWith Aradi, Zsolt, Dr. person
associatedWith Barthelme, Donald person
associatedWith Barthelme, Donald. person
associatedWith Berryman, John, 1914-1972. person
associatedWith Bontemps, Arna, 1902-1973. person
associatedWith Brodkey, Harold person
associatedWith Brodkey, Harold. person
associatedWith Brodsky, Joseph, 1940-1996. person
associatedWith Caldwell, Erskine, 1903-1987. person
associatedWith Canetti, Elias, 1905-1994. person
correspondedWith Cummings, E. E. (Edward Estlin), 1894-1962 person
associatedWith Dooley, Thomas A. 1927-1961. person
associatedWith E. B. (Elwyn Brooks) White, 1899- person
associatedWith Eliot, T. S. 1888-1965. person
associatedWith Farrar, John person
associatedWith Farrar, John. person
associatedWith Farrar, John Chipman, 1896-1974 person
associatedWith Foster, Frances. person
associatedWith Fuentes, Carlos person
associatedWith Fuentes, Carlos. person
correspondedWith Garrett, George P., 1929-2008 person
associatedWith Giroux, Robert person
associatedWith Giroux, Robert. person
associatedWith Golding, William, 1911-1993. person
associatedWith Gordimer, Nadine. person
associatedWith Graves, Robert, 1895-1985. person
associatedWith Guareschi, Giovanni, 1908-1968. person
associatedWith Handke, Peter person
associatedWith Handke, Peter. person
associatedWith Hauser, Bengamin Gayelord. person
associatedWith Heschel, Abraham Joshua, 1907-1972. person
associatedWith Hesse, Hermann, 1877-1962. person
associatedWith Hijuelos, Oscar. person
associatedWith Hill and Wang. corporateBody
associatedWith Horgan, Paul, 1903-1995. person
associatedWith Jackson, Shirley, 1916-1965. person
associatedWith Keyes, Frances Parkinson, 1885-1970. person
associatedWith L'Engle, Madeleine. person
associatedWith Lenz, Siegfried, 1926- person
associatedWith Lewisohn, Ludwig, 1882-1955. person
associatedWith Lowell, Robert, 1917-1977. person
associatedWith Malamud, Bernard person
associatedWith Malamud, Bernard. person
associatedWith Mauriac, François, 1885-1970. person
associatedWith McCarthy, Mary, 1912-1989. person
associatedWith McPhee, John, 1931- person
associatedWith Mehta, Ved, 1934- person
associatedWith Merton, Thomas, 1915-1968. person
associatedWith Miłosz, Czesław person
associatedWith Miłosz, Czesław. person
associatedWith Montgomery, L. M. 1874-1942. person
associatedWith Moravia, Alberto, 1907-1990. person
associatedWith O'Connor, Flannery person
associatedWith O'Connor, Flannery. person
associatedWith Page Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Percy, Walker, 1916-1990. person
associatedWith Porter, Eleanor H. 1868-1920. person
associatedWith Purdy, James, 1914-2009. person
associatedWith Reich, Wilhelm, 1897-1957. person
associatedWith Roth, Philip. person
associatedWith Shawn, William. person
associatedWith Singer, Isaac Bashevis, 1904-1991. person
associatedWith Sontag, Susan, 1933-2004. person
associatedWith Soyinka, Wole. person
associatedWith Stafford, Jean, 1915-1979. person
associatedWith Steig, William, 1907-2003. person
associatedWith Straus, Roger W. 1917-2004. person
associatedWith Van Doren, Mark, 1894-1972. person
associatedWith Van Dyke, Henry. person
associatedWith Walcott, Derek person
associatedWith Walcott, Derek. person
associatedWith White, E. B. (Elwyn Brooks), 1899-1985. person
associatedWith Wilson, Edmund, 1895-1972. person
associatedWith Wolfe, Tom person
associatedWith Wolfe, Tom. person
associatedWith Yourcenar, Marguerite. person
correspondedWith Zorina, Vera. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Subject
Publishers and Publishing
Authors, American
Authors and publishers--20th century
Publishers and publishing--United States
American literature--20th century
Children's literature
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1899

Active 1999

Vietnamese,

Spanish; Castilian,

Russian,

French,

English,

German

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