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

Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 1029

John Mason Brown is a very good friend of ours. When John and his wife Gassy would come here for dinner, I can still remember Phyllis and Cassy rolling on the ground with laughter at the thought of people paying John Mason Brown and me to talk. They both said, “If they only knew you two hams, they'd realize that you'd pay them for the privilege!”

Lecturing has become a very important part of my life. One extra dividend developed from it. I'd go to towns where no book publisher probably ever had been before--no publisher of, you know, a big firm. I would always go to the bookstores so I would meet the book sellers in a town where they had never seen a publisher in their lives. If you don't think that that wasn't helpful...


Oh, I know.


And chat with them and see if they had the Modern Library and sometimes help them move it myself... I'd say, “What do you mean putting the Modern Library in the back of the store?" Well, they hadn't gotten around to moving it. I would help them move the books while I was there. And when they weren't looking, I'd pull some of our new books out from where they were and put them in the front of the stand. For my own books, I'd sign anything they had in stock. In fact, there was a joke. If I ever got out of town with an unsigned Bennett Cerf book left, they'd say it was a rare and valuable volume!

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