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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Hanson book shop up in Northampton, Massachusetts. This was the best college book store in the United States.


It still is a fairly good one.


A beautiful one! The lady who ran it then was named Marion Dodd. She was quite a woman, very domineering, tough, but really a marshmallow underneath--like so many people who are tough on the surface and lovely underneath. She dressed in a very mannish way with white shirtwaists and little ties. I walked with my bag into the Hampshire bookshop, and this formidable creature met me and said, “What do you want, young man?" I answered, “I represent Boni and Liveright. I've come to show you our Fall books.”

She looked at me for a minute and she said, “Come back with me,” and she marched me back to her office, where she announced, “You look like a very decent, respectable young man. What are you doing selling those filthy books of Boni and Liveright?”

Well, I began defending these books--they weren't filthy at all. And this was the beginning of one of the real friendships in my whole publishing life. Marion Dodd and I to the day of her death were close friends. Later on I used to go up and lecture to Smith students under her auspices.


Why don't you think other publishers at this time were willing to gamble the way Liveright was?

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