PUBLISHER: P. W. Ziegler & Co., Philadelphia, Chicago, etc., 1880s?-1905?

ABOUT: The Franklin News Company, Philadelphia, was incorporated in 1887 with capitalization of $25,000. For most (or all) of this firm's existance, Peter W. Ziegler served as President; D. W. Coskey, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer; and a number of other Zieglers (A.C., James C., John W., M.J., et al), as members of its Board. It appears to have been principally a news distributor, but also, perhaps as a result of distributing some books as well as newspapers and magazines, itself published (or participated in the publishing of) a small number of books, including some that were sold by agents on commission.

In 1898, with liabilities of $52,000, the firm went bankrupt. P.W. Zeigler immediately created a new firm in his own name and acquired by purchase for $25,000 the Franklin News Co. assets, took personal responsibility for the remaining $27,000 in liabilities, and this new company retained essentially the same company officers and board members. The net effect of this reorganization seems to have been that of cutting out other equity owners who held parts of the liabilities. Suit (Megarge & Green Co. v. Ziegler) was brought by one of them in Philadelphia courts whose actions were reviewed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and reported in Weekly Notes of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Volume 43 (Sept 1898-March 1899), pages 466-460, (Philadelphia: Kay & Brother. 1899).

Several legal questions had by now become entangled, but the Court's decision directed:

Where directors of a corporation under the Act of 1874 have contracted debts in excess of the company's stock, they cannot free themselves from individual liability for such excess by selling the company's assets, either directly or through the medium of a confessed judgment, and applying the same to preferred claims, so reducing the amount of corporate indebtedness to the amount of the capital.... The amount recoverable by an individual creditor of the corporation from the directors in case of excessive Indebtedness is the amount which bears the same proportion to the debt as the amount of the entire indebtedness contracted in the name of the company in excess of the capital bears to the capital plus such excess.
Beyond this, scant evidence suggests that the new company continued the same path as Franklin News and survived at least through the early 1900s. It had offices in a variety of cities at different times and seems to have primarily distributed books printed or published by other companies. While a few carry the firm's imprint, it probably did not actually have its name on copies of many of the books that it sold.

LUCILE’s ISSUED BY P. W. Ziegler & Co.:
No copies with this imprint have as yet been discovered.

The 1902 United States Catalog records an address of 215 Locust Street, Philadelphia; 324 Dearborn Street, Chicago, and the fact that the firm offers Lucile (Cambridge classics). 50c; Red line ed. $1.25.

Hurst & Co. published a "Cambridge Classic" series for a long period on either side of 1902, so it may well be the case that Ziegler offered the Hurst volumes, not its own printing of Lucile.

Last revised: 10 April 2016