This reference book details in
unsurpassed thoroughness the history of the Henry Altemus Publishing
Company and the myriad of books it produced throughout its ninety four
The Henry Altemus Company:
A History and Pictorial
by Cary Sternick
Review by Gil O'Gara
YellowBack Library, Nov. 2005
This may be the best reference on old-time books that I have read this
Having said that, I guess I shouldn't need to write any more, but let
me give you some background on this project.
Cary Sternick, well known for his meticulous research (and his amazing
collection of vintage children's fiction and juvenile series books),
has just published this new volume. Like his other works, this one is a
large, perfect-bound softcover volume which is a glorious thing to
behold. And it deals with the output of one company: Henry Altemus.
Now, let me explain that I have been collecting old books for most of
my life, including a goodly number of the Altemus offerings, and I was
amazed at the number of items I had never seen or of whose existence I
was unaware. Book after book after book after book, all detailed in the
pages of this reference. I did not realize the full scope of this
publishing house's activities.
Cary Sternick brought home that reality to me as I paged through this
book. He gives us a concise history of the company, first, then gives
us background on the various publisher's series. The main body of this
work is the bibliography, a listing, along the format lines of Hudson,
of the various series, everything cross-indexed, of course.
Even more mind-boggling are the pages and pages of glossy color photos
illustrating examples of the covers and their artwork (including
applicable dustjackets). This is a beautiful section, although I felt
that some of the photos were a little dar. Cary and I discussed this,
and he points out that many of the covers were also dark, and simply
photographed that way.
There are bonuses for those of you with access to the 'net. Cary has a
website, henryaltemus.com, which updates this volume. (Cary, the
unstoppable researcher, has already found more material). The website
is itself a thing of beauty; check it out.
For more info on this book, contact Cary at his website, or e-mail him
at firstname.lastname@example.org. For those Yellowback readers who are not online, try
dropping him a note at 990 Village Square, #K, Tomball, Texas 77375.