PUBLISHER : American News Company, New York, 1864-1969.

ABOUT :
Organized in 1864 at 119-121 Nassau Street ("to fill ... obvious public need: the quick, efficient and regularly timed distribution of periodicals" [Tebbel, who also says] "soon after the company was founded, the directors wisely voted a resolution that 'we do not engage in publishing,' and this policy was never changed"). Moved March 1877 to 39-41 Chambers Street. "Primary distributor of popular dime novels and cheap reprint "libraries" including ... George Munro's Seaside Library." July 1909 moved to 11-15 Park Place. (DLB 49)."By 1883 the overproduction of paperbacks caused such a glut that the American News Company, to cite one instance, returned to Seaside Library [see Munro, George] 1,200,000 copies it could not sell. Later Munro disposed of 3,000,000 of his unsaleable reprints for $30,000 to soap companies which gave a free copy with each bar of soap." (Madison). Madeleine Stern has an extended description of this company emergence from an earlier company developed by Sinclair Tousey (Getting Out the Books, pages 87-91).

LUCILE’s ISSUED BY American News Company:
The American News Company appears to have used just two sets of plates for its multiple editions. One set produced a 12mo volume containing only the text of Lucile (as well as, perhaps, a frontispiece and some number of full page illustrations not included in the page count). The other set produced 12mo or larger (e.g., "Royal Octavo") volumes with 426 pages containing Lucile and a selection of Meredith's other poems (as well, again, as frontispieces and illustrations not included in the page count). These volumes were usually titled Lucile, and Other Poems, but sometimes more simply Meredith's Poetical Works. Both sets of plates include Meredith's dedication to his father and the longer, apologetic, preface to the 3rd (1876) English edition that speaks to his "plagiarism" of Geroge Sand's Lavinia. Based on PTLA descriptions, the editions are summarized:

Lucile: Excelsior Edition, 1880-1903; Century Poets, 1893-1896; Library Edition, 1896-1897; Tuxedo Edition, 1896-1903; Empire Edition, 1896-1906.
Lucile, and Other Poems (or Poetical Works): Excelsior Edition, 1880-1903; Royal Octavo, 1882-1890; Century Poets, 1893-1896; Library Edition, 1896-1897: Tuxedo Edition, 1896-1903; Empire Edition, 1896-1906.

The Excelsior Edition of Standard British Poets.
1880 PTLA: "The best edition of this beautiful word-painting of Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), with numerous illustrations." Also "Poems, Containing Lucile complete, and all other Popular Poems of this favorite author. With illustrations." Issued in three editions:

1st: Red Line Edition, in large 12mo volumes, extra cloth, tinted paper, red line borders, beveled boards, gilt edges, black and gold side and black dies, very fully illustrated. Price per vol., $1.50.
2d: Morocco Edition -- large 12mo, full morocco, beveled, gilt edges, gilt sides, tinted paper, fully illustrated. "A very handsome volume." Price per vol., in paper box, $2.50.
3d: Plain edition, in large 12mo volumes, extra cloth binding, tinted paper, gold titles, ink dies on side and back, with illustration. Price per vol., $1.00. This edition, at $1.00 per volume, is the same size as Red Line Edition, but without the red line and gilt edges, with one illustration, and meets all the wants for a good cheap edition of the British Poets. It is the only complete edition ever issued in this country at so low a price. / Liberal discounts to the trade....

1881-1885 PTLA: "The best edition of this beautiful word-painting of Owen Meredith (Lord Lytton), with numerous illustrations." New Type -- New Electrotype Plates -- Fully Illustrated and Complete. This New Edition of the British Poets is not duplicated from English plates, but is printed from entirely new electrotype plates, cast from new fonts of type, and contains more matter than any other edition, English or American, issued at so low a price. Each volume complete with Notes and Memoir. / We shall issue four different styles of the Excelsior Edition of the British Poets. / [1st, 2d and 4th as 1880],

3d. Tree Calf Edition -- large 12mo, extra tree calf, gilt edges, etc. "An elegant volume." Price per vol., in neat paper box, $4.00. [Plain edition becomes 4th issue].

Also notice in 1881 Christmas number of PW.
1886-1887 PTLA: as 1881, except both Works and Lucile are offered, "2nd: Morocco or Alligator Edition....", and Plain edition of Lucile is not offered.
1888-1890 PTLA: as 1887, except "2d. Stamped Russia (Clover Leaf). Large 12mo volume, padded, redline, gilt edges, gold title on side, illustrated, new and attractive. Price, per vol. in box, $2.50. / 3d. Morocco, Lizard Skin, or Alligator edition...."
1891: as 1888, except "2d. Padded Embossed Leather, Round Corners...." (Cut of Robinson Crusoe in cloth).
1892 PTLA: as 1890. (Cuts of Longfellow in cloth, Mrs. Browning padded).
1893-1897 PTLA: "Red Line Poets. Excelsior Edition. Cloth gilt, gilt edges" and "Padded, Embossed Leather... $1.50." Both Poems and Lucile offered, retail $1.00. Also offered Tree calf, boxed, $3.00. (Cuts as 1892).
1898-1903 PTLA: as 1893 except no mention of padded or tree calf issues.

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The early Excelsior editions are widely held, with multiple copies at Rare Book School as noted in pop images above plus BAP AM3a: Yellow brown cloth; recto of frontispiece has inscription dated Christmas 1888 (under a tipped-in clipped picture). BAP Am3b: Green cloth, illustrations differ from Am3a. BAP Am3c; University of Colorado (NUC); Victoria University (Toronto); Virginia Polytechnic Institute: inscribed Christmas 1888; Kalamazoo College (details not verified). BAP Am4. Full tan calf stamped blind and gold, beveled edges. Aeg. Glazed brown endsheets. NL 0594599 Harvard, 188-; NL 0594665 University of Illinois, [1900?], 263p. These copies vary in some details of stamping and in illustrations.

Royal Octavo Edition of Excelsior British Poets.
1882-1884 PTLA: In large Octavo Volumes, beautifully printed on extra super-sized, calendared, and tinted paper, with Numerous Illustrations and Beautiful Scarlet Border, bound in extra English cloth, full gilt, black and gold dies of elegant and chaste design. / The price has been made very low to insure a large sale.... / Each volume done up in a neat paper box, Price per volume, $3.50.... Lucile, and other poems by Owen Meredith. Fully illustrated. 1 vol. 8vo. Price in cloth binding as above, $2.50; also, in Full Turkey Morocco, $6.00; or in Extra Tree Calf, gilt edges -- a superb volume, $7.50.
1885-1890 PTLA: Price per volume, $2.50.

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The Century Poets.
1893-1896 PTLA: In large 12mo volumes. Beautifully printed, bound in cloth. / This is the cheapest good edition of the formost writers of "thoughts that breathe and words that burn" of the English language. No body can afford to be ignorant of the work of these great writers when they are attainable in the above descriptive dress at the price named. The above illustration gives an exact idea of the shape of this edition... Retail 50 cents.... (Cut of Tennyson in simulated half-leather). Both Poems and Lucile offered.

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Library Edition.
1896 PTLA: "A marvel of bookmaking at the low prices at which we offer them. They are bound in extra English cloth, highly polished, marbled sides and edges. Retail price, $1.00." Both Lucile and Poetical Works offered. (Cut of Lorna Doone).
1897 PTLA: as 1896. Lucile also offered with Burns, Byron, Tennyson and Gems from the Poets as a five volume set, $5.00, "Choice Poets."

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Red Line Poets, Tuxedo Edition.
1896-1903 PTLA: Twelvemos... This edition of the Poets is printed on Calendared Paper. Bound in extra English Cloth, highly polished and inlaid, Marbled Sides, Gilt Top... Each volume in a neat White Glaze Box. Retail price, $1.00." Both Lucile and Meredith offered. (Cut of Milton in half-binding).

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Empire Edition. See also New York Publishing Company.
1896 PTLA: "Twelvemos. Bound in Handsome Maroon Cloth, Highly Polished Back, Gilt Top. The most desirable moderate price 12mo on the market... retail price 50 cts." (Cut of Toilers of the Sea). Both Lucile and Poetical Works offered.
1897 PTLA: as 1896. Lucile also offered with Burns, Byron, Tennyson and Gems from the Poets as a five volume set, $2.50, "Choice Poets."
1898 PTLA: "Published by the New York Publishing Company. [as 1897...].
1899 PTLA: as 1898 except no mention of New York Publishing Company.
1900 PTLA: as 1899 except "Retail, 50 cents. Net, 20 cents."
1901 PTLA: as 1900 except "Retail, 50 cents. Send for quotations on quantities."
1902-1903 PTLA: as 1901 except simply "Retail, 50c."
1904-1906 PTLA: Bound in handsome maroon cloth, highly polished back, gilt top. The most desirable modern price 12mo in the market.... retail, 50c.

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Last revised: 20 February 2014