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Dell Dell i(A39701 works by) (Organisation) assertion (a.k.a. Dell Publishing Company; Dell Publications)
Born: Established: 1921 New York (City), New York (State),
United States of America (USA),
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Dell Publishing Company was founded in New York City in 1921 by George T. Delacorte. During its first 22 years Dell published pulp (mass market) magazines such as I Confess, Ballyhoo, Modern Screen, Modern Romances and Inside Detective, and from 1936 on comics - including Looney Tunes, Walt Disney Comics and New Funnies. In 1943, Dell entered into adult fiction paperback market with Dell Paperbacks - the result of a partnership between Delacorte and Lloyd E. Smith of Western Printing - the company which had been printing and editing Dell's comics. The new venture's success was largely to do with timing as mass-market paperbacks were a relatively new idea for the United States market. Indeed, the company's principal competitor, Pocket Books, had only been publishing since 1939.

The first Dell title, Philip Ketchum's Death in the Library, was followed by novels by authors such as Ellery Queen, Dorothy Hughes and Agatha Christie and also included some movie tie-ins - notably Rope (the Alfred Hitchcock film) and The Harvey Girls. In 1951 Dell began releasing titles through its Ten-Cent Books imprint - a series of 36 long short stories or novelettes by leading authors (the maximum length was 64 pages). Among the early publications were W. Somerset Maugham's Rain and John O'Hara's Pal Joey. Two years later the company began publishing another series called Dell First Editions. One of the more notable early titles was Jack Finney's The Body Snatchers (1955).

The 1950s saw the company published one of its biggest-ever sellers - Grace Metaliou's Peyton Place (1957), which has sold more than 10 million copies. Two other imprints, Laurel Editions and Laurel Leaf Library were was also launched in 1957, the same year that George Delacorte was succeeded as president by Helen Myer. Laurel Editions comprised paperback reprints of literary fiction and non-fiction, while Laurel Leaf Library aimed at publishing titles specifically for junior and senior high school students.

In 1962 Dell and Western (which had by then changed its name to Western Publishing Company) ended their association, with Dell taking on responsibility for its own editorial and production operations. That same year it established yet another imprint - Delta Books, which published large trade paperbacks (both original and reprints). Mayflower Books, also established in 1962, was a British subsidiary of Dell. Two years later Delacorte Press (aka Delacorte Books) was launched by Dell as a publisher of hardcover titles, and around the same time Dell acquired Dial Press (over the next ten years both imprints advertised their titles in conjunction with each other).

In 1965 Dell set up Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, one of the first joint ventures between an individual and a publishing house (the first was established by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). Lawrence was responsible for selecting the authors and preparing the manuscripts while Delacorte undertook all other aspects of the publishing process. Among the more notable titles released by Delacorte/Stephen Lawrence were Kurt Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkey House (1968), Slaughterhouse Five (1969), Breakfast of Champions (1973) and Slapstick (1976).

Dell Publishing no longer exists as an independent entity. In 1976 the company was acquired by Doubleday for a reported $US35 million. Helen Myer retained her position as president until her retirement in 1979. She was succeeded by Carl W. Tobey, and later by William A. Lindsay. Dell has since been merged into Bantam Dell Publishing Group - a division of Random House. Dell Magazines was sold in 1997, and it still exists as a major publisher of puzzle magazines, also publishing science fiction, mystery, and horoscope magazines.

Among the Australian authors to be published by Dell are Morris West, J.E. Macdonald (also as Kerry Mitchell), Mignon Warner, Tony Kendrick and Ruth Park.

Most Referenced Works


  • Further Reference:

    • "Dell, Publishers of Magazines and Reprints.' Publishers' Weekly 147 (19 May 1945), pp. 1990-1993.
    • 'Dell Publishing.' Wikipedia - online (sighted 21/01/2011).
    • Hoffman, Elizabeth.'Dell Publishing Company.' In Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 46 - American Literary Publishing Houses, 1900-1980: Trade and Paperback.' Ed. Peter Dzwonkoski. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1986, pp. 108-109.
    • Lyles, William H. Putting Dell on the Map: A History of the Dell Paperbacks. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1984.
    • 'Story of Dell Publishing Company, Inc, The.' Book Production Magazine 80 (Nov. 1964), pp. 32-35.
Last amended 26 May 2014 15:20:26
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