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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029


Have you borrowed since?


We've been in and out of the banks quite often. Publishing is a very seasonal business, and often you have to borrow money to tide you over the fall season because your customers don't pay you usually until the turn of the year. But we're always in the clear by February.


This was the first time?



It was a period of great discouragement because Barnhart turned out to be more or less of a visionary, and every time that he came in I said, “Oh, God, he wants another $50,000.” I was always right, too--unless he needed even more. The time was slipping by too. But we found out that this is more or less the regular procedure with a dictionary or a big reference book.

One of the great things that came out of this venture was not Mr. Barnhart, who didn't win my heart particularly, but an assistant named Jess Stein. Jess Stein, as is so often the case in projects of this kind, was the assistant who really did the main body of the work while Barnhart took the credit. We fell in love with Jess Stein, and made him the permanent head of our reference department and later promoted him to the head of our whole college textbook department. He is one of the most important people at Random House today.

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