PUBLISHER : The Hovendon Company, New York, circa 1892.


ABOUT : John Hovenden was born in Ireland in or about 1860. There is a birth record for John Hovenden, 1860-03-25, in Maryborough, Laois, Ireland (an area in Portlaoise, a small town about 50 miles southwest of Dublin), parents William Hovenden and Elizabeth Dowling. There is also an 1871 English Census record for John Hovenden, birth year 1860, parents William and Elizabeth Hovenden, John born in Ireland, the family (including three younger children) living in Wandsworth, now a suburb in southwest London. He is described in one source, later in life, as "kin" of R. Worthington (1834-1894, born in England), and there is considerale evidence this was the case. Precisely how they were related has not, however, been established.

Worthington married a Dublin woman in 1860 and moved to Montreal, Canada, about this time, where he began business as a stationer, bookseller, and publisher. In the Canadian census of 1871, John Hovendon, age 14, is reported living at the Worthington's address, 19 Latour, and in the 1872-73 city directory as "Clerk, 19 Latour, then 1873-74 and 1874-75 as "clerk, bds 19 Latour." By 1874 Worthington had established, and was closing, a branch in Boston as he opened a second branch in New York City. It is likely John joined him there, probably working in Worthington's new Broadway bookstore.

The 1884 New York Directory finds a John Hovendon, books, home address East 168th near Union Avenue. By 1892 Hovendon was Secretary of the Brotherhood of Commercial Travelers which had created and maintained a Clubhouse since 1891; in 1894 he was President-Elect and thereafter Secretary of the BCT well into the 1920s. In 1908, at the BCT dinner (February 29, celebrating 1907), the master of ceremonies read short biographies for each of the officers. Of Hovendon he said, "... turned his back some 40 years ago (1868) on his native Ireland and settled in Canada where he was taken in by his kinsman, Richard Worthington, then in the book business at Montreal.

When Mr. Worthington came to New York City, "Jack" Hovendon went into the stationery business, which he followed for about six years, coming to New York in 1876 to again join Mr. Worthington, [likely confused: came to Montreal @1870 and worked in stationary store six years (to @1876), then coming to New York] for whom he travelled at one time the length and breadth of the country" [for some ten years, that is, largely through the 1880s].

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When R. Worthington & Co. was transformed in 1886 into The Worthington Company, he served on its board.

The International Book Company was an American publishing book company based in New York (210-318 Sixth Avenue. Hovendonn bought the company and renamed it Hovendon Co. / Circa 1892, the company published 5 novels and 12 short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. ACD Encyclopedia.

He later had management/ownership involvement in the Bay View Publishing Co. and the Home Book Company, all spin-offs after 1892 of the John Wurtele Lovell Company operations.

"John Hovendon of the Home Book Company sailed on the twelfth of January to his early home and cbirthplace to the good old dart, Dublin, Ireland, where his parents still reside. He will remain there a few weeks, going thence to France and Italy, returning in early summer. His friends expect that he will have many bright new things that will be flashed on the expectant book trade who know that his watchfulness is ever on the alert for new things in the book trade." --- The American Newman 12:1 (January 1895), page 12.

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(MacMullen (left), Hovendon (right) at the 1908 BCT Banquet)

ALBERT D. McMULLEN, of the H. M. Caldwell Company, was born in Brooklyn, N. Y. November 17, 1865, and was educated in the public schools of that city. While still a boy he obtained a position with R. Worthington, with whom he remained upwards of ten years. While with Worthington he began to travel, his maiden trip taking him to Canada. Afterwards he took in also the Southern States. In 1883, he followed his friend and mentor, John Hovendon, into the United States Book Company and its ancillary branch, the Hovendon Company. After these companies went out of business, "Al" became representative of David McKay and the Rodgers Company of Philadelphia, with headquarters in New York City. In 1892, he joined the H. M. Caldwell Co., of Boston, of which he has just been elected vice-president and a director. He is a past-president of the Brotherhood of Commercial Travellers and a past-master of York Lodge, F. and A.M. ["Free & Acepted Masons"], in which so many members of the book and stationery trade find a Masonic home. McMullen covers the Pacific Coast and the West, where his kindly face and cheery manner have won for him many endearing friendships. The Publishers' Weekly 1883 (1908-02-29), p959.

Outliving both his sons, John Hovendon died at age 94 on January 7, 1945. Further details will appear in due course!

LUCILE's ISSUED BY John Hovendon: None are known with a Hovendon imprint, but he must have handled a great many editions traveling for Worthington and playing management and ownership roles with the International Book Company; the Bay View Publishing Co.; and the Home Book Company.

Last revised: 18 May 2024