AQ -- Book trade and Publishing

Reclams Sachlexikon des Buches [Reclam’s Encyclopedia of the Book]. Ed. Ursula Rautenberg. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2003. 591 p. ill. 16 cm. ISBN 3-15-010520-X: EUR 19.90 [03-1-053]

This dictionary (RSB) is very similar to the 6th edition of the Wörterbuch des Buches (WdB) (see RREA 8:51). The two are very close in layout, and although RSB’s fontsize approaches the lowest borders of the readable, both are difficult to read, with narrow columns and short lines. The two are aimed at the same target group. Both dictionaries cover the basics of the subject well. As its title implies, the RSB does not cover persons or publishing houses. There are some indications that the RSB is slightly ahead in describing new digital technologies. A detailed comparison reveals that RSB has fewer entries than WdB (1,600 vs. 2,500), but that the individual entries tend to be more substantial. RSB has not only short articles but also longer ones dealing with central concepts, as well as copious bibliographic references. This gives RSB a slight edge over WdB in an “either-or” situation. [lf/rs]

Das Nürnberger Buchgewerbe: Buch- und Zeitungsdrucker, Verleger und Druckhändler vom 16. bis zum 18. Jahrhundert [The Book Trade in Nuremberg: Printers, Publishers, and Dealers in Books and Newspapers from the 16th to the 18th Centuries]. Ed. Michael Diefenbacher, Wiltrud Fischer-Pache, and Manfred H. Grieb. Nürnberg: Stadtarchiv Nürnberg, 2003. xi, 739 p. 25 cm. (Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte und Kultur der Stadt Nürnberg, 31). ISBN 3-925002-31-6: EUR 60 (Buchhandlung Edelmann, Kornmarkt 8, D-90402 Nürnberg) [03-1-054]

In this two-part compilation from the city archives of a leading center of early German publishing, Part 1, covering roughly three-quarters of the book, presents relevant excerpts from council minutes and other documents covering the years 1519–1727. A chronological sequence of ordinances governing the book trade is followed by excerpts pertaining to individuals, arranged alphabetically by name. Indexes of names, places, and topics provide additional access. Part 2, which expands the coverage to such specialized craftspeople as illuminators and punch-cutters, likewise registers individuals in the book trade as they appear in the administrative yearbooks issued from 1513 to 1806, and provides indexes by name and occupation.

Even allowing the claim by the archives’ director (in the introduction) that additional sources of information remain to be covered, this book places Nuremberg far ahead of other cities in making the history of its book trade accessible to researchers. [sh/gw]

Buchgestaltung im Exil 1933–1950: eine Ausstellung des Deutschen Exilarchivs 1933–1945 der Deutschen Bibliothek [Book Design in Exile 1933–1950: An Exhibit of the Archive of German Exiles 1933–1945 of the German National Library]. Ed. Ernst Fischer. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2003. 219 p. ill. 23 cm. (Gesellschaft für das Buch, 9). ISBN 3-447-04726-7: EUR 17 [03-1-055]

This most recent exhibition catalog from the Deutsche Bibliothek’s Archive of German Exiles 1933–1945 joins Kurt Löb’s Exil-Gestalten: deutsche Buchgestalter in den Niederlanden 1932–1950 [Exile Figures: German Book Designers in the Netherlands 1932–1950] (see IFB 97-3/4-306) in remedying the lack of research on the work of German book designers in exile. In addition to an essay by the Mainz philologist and book historian Ernst Fischer, the catalog contains 111 bio-bibliographies of German and Austrian book artists prepared by the staff of the Archive. Although the bibliographies could be more complete, this is a considerable achievement and marks essential progress in this area of study. [ab/ab]

Fritz Kredel: das buchkünstlerische Werk in Deutschland und Amerika [Fritz Kredel: His Book Art in Germany and America]. Ronald Salter. Rudolstadt: Burgart-Presse, 2003. 214 p. ill. 31 cm. (Bibliographischer Druck der Burgart-Presse Jens Henkel, 6). ISBN 3-910206-45-X: EUR 75 (trade ed.), EUR 450 (deluxe ed.) (Burgart-Presse Jens Henkel, Mörla 45 A, D-07407 Rudolstadt) [03-1-056]

The book artist Fritz Kredel (1900–1993) is best known in the United States for his work illustrating classic titles published by the Limited Editions Club in a collaboration that began before his emigration from Germany in 1936 and extended well into the 1970s. A student of the “German William Morris,” Rudolf Koch (and a woodcutter of many of Koch’s designs), in Germany he was associated as a book designer and illustrator above all with the Insel publishing firm. His range was wide (he did the color illustrations of Harvard’s collection of glass flowers) and his prestige in his adopted country immense (he designed the presidential seal used at Kennedy’s inauguration).

Salter’s book falls into two parts. The first discusses Kredel’s illustrations by subject and sets him into the general context of the book arts of his period. The second divides his bibliography into four sections: illustrated books and illustrations for periodicals; bindings, book jackets, end papers, and title pages; works not in book form, especially maps; and Kredel’s own writings. A selected bibliography of works about Kredel and an index to the various sections of the bibliography, listing his work chronologically, follow. Subsequent editions and variant bindings are identified and described. The book is provided with excellent, abundant illustrations. One criticism: a separate index for publishers would have been useful.

This is an indispensable book for both collectors and libraries with an interest in the arts of the book. [sh/dss]

Georg Salter: Bucheinbände und Schutzumschläge aus Berliner Zeit 1922–1934 [Georg Salter: Book Bindings and Dust Jackets from the Berlin Period, 1922– 1934]. Jürgen Holstein, with an essay on Georg Salter’s typography by Peter Nils Dorén. Berlin: Privately published by J. Holstein, 2003. 154 p. ill. 28 cm. ISBN 3-00-010772-X: EUR 88 [03-1-057]

Georg Salter (1897–1967) was an ingenious book designer, typographer, and stageset designer. His brother founded the publishing-house “Die Schmiede.” Until 1933, Salter designed book covers and page layouts for renowned publishing houses of the Weimar Republic, such as Gustav Kiepenheuer and S. Fischer. He was a master at configuring the cover and binding to fit the contents of the book, as for example in his design of the cover for the 1929 first edition of Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz. After the 1933 Nazi ascension to power, Salter was compelled to emigrate to the USA, where he soon reestablished his sought-after trade as a book artist. Th e Bremen native died in New York.

The first part of this beautifully published work by Jürgen Holstein (a Berlin antiquarian book dealer and collector) contains some 295 rich illustrations of book covers from Salter’s German creative period, about half of which come from Holstein and his wife’s own collection. There is unfortunately no index to these titles. The second part offers a knowledgeable bibliography of works about the book arts. An appendix includes reproductions of two essays on Georg Salter’s creativity and a survey of his American works. The book is completely devoted to Salter’s artistry and reveals almost nothing about Salter’s personal life. Th is deficit does not in any way diminish the importance of Holstein’s contribution, which brings back to light this important German artist of classical modernity. [ab/ga]

Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich [Bertelsmann in the Third Reich]. Saul Friedländer, Norbert Frei, Trutz Rendtorff, and Reinhard Wittmann. München: Bertelsmann, 2002. 794 p. ill. 23 cm. ISBN 3-570-00711-1: EUR 35; ISBN 3-570-00713-8 (in slipcase with Bertelsmann 1921–1951): EUR 50 [03-1-058]

Bertelsmann 1921–1951: Gesamtverzeichnis [Bertelsmann 1921–1951: Comprehensive Index]. Saul Friedländer, Norbert Frei, Trutz Rendtorff , and Reinhard Wittmann; comp. Dina Brandt and Olaf Simons. München: Bertelsmann, 2002. 640 p. 23 cm. ISBN 3-570-00712-X: EUR 20; ISBN 3-570-00713-8 (in slipcase with Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich): EUR 50 [03-1-059]

When Bertelsmann in 1998 acquired Random House, the largest American publisher, it suddenly became the target of critical questions. The company’s chairman, Th omas Middelhoff, apparently believing it himself, cited the legend that the firm had resisted the Nazis and been closed by them in 1944 for publishing subversive pamphlets. In Germany, Hersch Fischer objected to this assertion, claiming instead that Bertelsmann had profited from the Nazi regime. Reports confirming Fischer’s views made headlines in Germany and North America. Consequently, at the end of 1998, the company appointed a board of experts under the leadership of the Israeli historian Saul Friedländer to investigate the matter.

The Unabhängige historische Kommission zur Erforschung der Geschichte des Hauses Bertelsmann im Dritten Reich [Independent Historical Commission charged with Investigating the Bertelsmann Publishing House in the Third Reich] found the state of documentation was poor, due to the destruction of the company archives in a 1945 bombardment. However, the Commission was able to close many gaps through consultation of over 50 domestic and foreign archives and over two dozen eyewitnesses. Many of the signed articles in its report contain cautious wording such as “presumably” and “probably.” Yet overall, the thoroughness in documenting the book’s conclusions is quite good, providing valuable studies not only for the history of the company, but also the cultural, economic, and political history of Germany during the period ca. 1920– 1950. The Commission’s detailed examination of the firm’s publishing program is especially revealing. The company had been founded in 1835 and supplied evangelical Christians with edifying and theological literature. This began to change only after the book’s story begins, when the company added popular entertainment literature at the end of the 1920s. Some of these publications in fact glorified war and benefited from substantial German military contracts, notably the Kleine Feldpostreihe [Little Armed Forces Mail Series] that served to “distract the soldiers from their terrible daily task.” But Bertelsmann shared in this role with ca. 40 other publishers. It was asserted in a 1985 work that owner Heinrich Mohn withdrew from political issues under the Nazis to concentrate on Christian theological topics, but the Commission demonstrates that works glorifying war played a far more significant, and pro-regime, role.

The Comprehensive Index was not compiled by the authors of the report volume, but rather by Brandt and Simons. In fact this is an independent work, organized by the year of publication of the first edition of a work and subsequent editions. Bertelsmann’s thematic emphases constitute an additional principle of organization. There are minor failings in the classification of editors and authors, yearbooks and calendars as books, or in the treatment of periodicals. But still this index is easily usable and provides a very thorough bibliography—with editions, print runs, prices, and bibliographical notes—that serves as an ideal supplement to the company history. [rf/jpn]

Die Buchgemeinschaften in der Weimarer Republik: mit einer Fallstudie über die sozialdemokratische Arbeiterbuchgemeinschaft “Der Bücherkreis” [Book Clubs in the Weimar Republic: With a Case Study of the Social Democratic Workers Book Club “The Book Circle”]. Urban van Melis. Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 2002. ix, 326, 16 p. ill. 25 cm. (Bibliothek des Buchwesens, 13). ISBN 3-7772-0237-1: EUR 138 [03-1-060]

In his dissertation for the University of Mainz, Urban von Melis presents all the well-known book clubs of the Weimar Republic, describing their business practices and ideological bases. Especially valuable is his study of the Bücherkreis, the Social Democratic Workers book club. An appendix provides a bibliography of 71 Bücherkreis publications. The subject bibliography on the Bücherkreis supplements Brigitte Emig’s bibliography of 1981, Literatur für eine neue Wirklichkeit [Literature for a New Reality], but the bibliography of reviews is weak, relying too exclusively on the journal Bücherwarte [Book Observer]. Variant editions are also neglected and are much better documented on the web page of an anonymous enthusiast (http:// www.der-buecherkreis.de). A glaring omission in the general bibliography is Brigitte Melzig’s Deutsche sozialistische Literatur 1918–1945 [German Socialist Literature, 1918–1945] (Berlin, 1975). Although this is a thoroughly solid study, it is not exhaustive, encouraging further research in this area. [ab/ab]

Dizionario degli editori musicali italiani 1750–1930 [Dictionary of Italian Music Publishers, 1750–1930]. Ed. Bianca Maria Antolini for the Società Italiana di Musicologia. Pisa: Edizioni ETS, 2000. 427, 32 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 88-467-0358-8: EUR 33.57 [03-1-067]

This dictionary consists primarily of an alphabetical list of 323 Italian music publishers, printers, and music distributors who were active between 1750 and 1930. Each entry is accompanied by a description varying in length from a few lines to 27 pages. There is an informative introductory essay concerning Italian music publishing in these centuries, followed by a bibliography that is divided into 12 subject categories; an index of personal names; and a geographic index of the places where these publishers, printers, or distributors were located. An introduction to the bibliography section includes an overview of the sources used to compile this work. [mr/ldl]

Editori di musica a Torino e in Piemonte [Musical Publishers in Turin and Piedmont]. Mario dell’Ara. 2 vols. Torino: Centro di Studi Piemontesi, Istituto per i Beni Musicali in Piemonte, 1999. 773 p. 27 cm. (Il gridelino, 21). ISBN 88-8262-017-4: EUR 67.14 [03-1-068]

This is a directory of music publishers from the Piedmont region in Italy who published during the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries. In addition to an introductory essay describing the history of music publishing in Turin and Piedmont, there is a biographical section pertaining to music publishers, people who sold music, engravers, printers, drawers, and lithographers. Detailed information is provided for each entry. A detailed list in tabular form of the output of these music publishers is found in the second volume. There are also indexes for titles and composers. The publication of similar volumes for other regions of Italy would be welcome. [mr/ldl]

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Last update: March 6, 2006 [BG]
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