Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 1029

they landed at Plymouth Rock. The history books are a little cloudy. Plymouth Rock is not where the Pilgrims landed!” Well, Chris was dubious. I could see that he didn't believe me. So I said, “Damn it all, we're going down to the bookstore and get you a book on this.”

Now the bookstore in Provincetown was run by Paul and Bunny Smith, who had the bookstore down in Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina in the wintertime and had the summer shop in Provincetown. They had a first-rate bookstore because these were real book people. It was the bookstore in Provincetown, and Provincetown was a literary town anyway.

So we walked in, and I said to Paul, “I want to see all the books you've got about the Pilgrims. I've got something that I want to prove to my son.” Paul said, “We haven't got any book about the Pilgrims.” I said, “What do you mean? In Provincetown you haven't got books about the Pilgrims?" He said, “I haven't got them for a very good reason. There aren't any.” I said, “You're out of your mind.” He said, “All right. You find me one and I will buy 250 copies of it. I want it because there's a great demand. It's in histories, a page or two, but there is no entire book about the Pilgrims, their landing here and then going over to Plymouth Rock.”

I began thinking about this, and then the idea suddenly struck me about this series of books, one each, on some great episode in American history. By the time we left Provincetown, I had a list of the first ten titles and the name of the series, Landmark Books. My thought was not to get juvenile authors for

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help