PUBLISHER: Excelsior Publishing Co., 1884; Excelsior Publishing House, 1885-1913?

ABOUT: The Excelsior Publishing Co. in New York City submitted a catalog to PTLA in 1884 and as the Excelsior Publishing House in 1885-1897, 1899-1904, 1906, and 1900-1913. The proprietors are generally identified as McKeon & Schofield, but the 1903 "order list" locates the firm at 8 Murray and the proprietor as T. J. Carey & Co. A note in Publishers’ Weekly vol. 86 part 2, p1567 (14 Nov 1914): "New York City. A meeting of the creditors of the Excelsior Publishing House has been called.", suggests that the firm was failing. These notes generally indicate that creditors are meeting to divide remaining assets, following which the company dissolved.

The lists that appear in PTLA do not offer Lucile (or indeed other works of fiction or poety per se), but rather how-to and self-help books in several areas, collections of "recitations," and joke-books. One of the firms long-standing series was a more or less annual "crop" of Drummers' Yarns, widely advertised in trade magazines:

Click to magnify

The firm is also characterized in a brief article from The Editor magazine, vol. 37 (1 January 1913), p140-14 (emphasis added)1: “Do the publishers of the joke-books so often seen on the newsstands purchase manuscripts?” The joke-books most often seen are those published by Keppler and Schwarzmann, 295 Lafayette Street, Lelie-Judge Company, 225 Fifth Avenue, and McKeon and Schofield, 27 East 21st Street, New York, N.Y. The firms named first and secondly are the publishers respectively of Puck and of Judge. Their joke-books are Puck’s Magazine and Judge’s Library and Judge’s Quarterly. The material used in these publications is sometimes reprinted from the weeklies issued by the same firms. Most of the original jokes, verses, sketches and stories printed in these books are accepted from among the manuscripts offered to Puck and to Judge. McKeon and Schoneld [sic] publish the collections of “Drummers’ Yarns,” of which they have issued “Nineteen Crops.” Short humorous stories, jokes and anecdotes are sometimes purchased for forthcoming “crops.” The Excelsior Publishing House, of which McKeon and Schofield are proprietors, publish also electrical hand-books, business manuals, books of games, trade manuals and miscellaneous books, including books of drills, dialogues and recitations. M. J. Ivers, 379 Pearl Street, New York, N.Y., publish joke-books, hand-books and dime-novels (the Beadle’s Frontier Series and others), but the concern is not in the market for material. J. S. Ogilvie Publishing Company, 57 Rose Street, New York, N.Y., whose list contains books of all kinds, occasionally purchase manuscripts for both cloth and paper bound books. M. A. Donohue & Co., Dearborn and Polk Streets, Chicago, Ill., whose imprint has appeared on joke-books now confine themselves to the publication of standard works only. L. & M. Ottenheimer Company, Baltimore, Md., bring out joke-books, but the firm states that no manuscripts are purchased from writers. THE EDITOR would like to complete this list of publishers of joke-books; moderate payment will be made for reliable information.

The American News Company, Bay View Co., A. L. Burt Co., and the Rodgers Co. all, at one time or another, offered an "Excelsior Edition" of Lucile, opening an opportunity for confusion between edition and company. However, a number of books with Excelsior imprints have been offered on eBay, including, for example, Charles Dickens' A Child's History of England, which suggest a Lucile should not be ruled out. Note also the "Peoples Edition" stamp on the cover; might this suggest an explanation for citation of a People's Publishing Co. edition?

Click to magnify Click to magnify

LUCILE’s ISSUED BY Excelsior Publishing House: A friend of the Project has recently brought to our attention a copy with the Exelsior imprint on the title page. It's text block has 263 pages (plus unnumbered full-page illustrations) and seems otherwise to match precisely the text of the American News Company Excelsior Edition of Standard British Poets offered between 1880 and 1903. This copy was in a deteriorated maroon padded leather cover which features the "Lucile" title stamp with diamond-point embellished "...ucile" shown on the ANC page. ANC appears to have offered padded leather variants each year between 1891 and 1897. There are of course any number of explanations. The "glut" of reprint volumes in the early 1890s, with many publishers competing vigorously to rid themselves of inventory, seems a likely time the Excelsior Publishing House may have had, and took, an opportunity to pick up volumes at pennies, literally, on the dollar from the American News Company and to substitute its title page.


Last revised: 16 June 2019