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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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out of the room. As I say, there was a bond between us that I can't describe to you. And we had one secretary. And to this day--here I am the head of the firm with all these outside interests--I share my secretary with Donald. Admittedly, he doesn't have as many letters as I have, because I have all these personal appearances--lecturing and television and heaven knows what else. He likes it this way, and I wouldn't hurt his feelings for the world. Actually, it's perfectly idiotic. All the minor editors in our building have their own secretaries, but the two people who built the business share one secretary.


How did you develop Modern Library?


There were 108 titles in Modern Library at that time. About nine of them were books that Liveright had put in because of some whim or to please some author he was trying to sign up or to show off to somebody. If some girl he was trying to win said, “You ought to have this book in the Modern Library,” and it meant a week-end at Atlantic City, he'd put the book in. I knew what I was going to do with that Modern Library when I got my paws on it. We threw these nine titles right out immediately.

Next: the Modern Library was bound in imitation leather. It looked like leather, but it wasn't leather--it was cloth. And what made it look like leather was that it was treated by some substance which had castor oil in it. This castor oil had been deodorized, and when the books were new, it had no

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