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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029

he suddenly discovered that one of the partners in my old brokerage office in New York--the one who called me a weasel because he never could find me--was a great friend of theirs. So Francis said, “You know, I can find out all about you very quickly from this broker.” By this time they knew I had worked in a brokerage office. We had become friends within an hour. Before I left that day he said, “If Heimerdinger gives the okay--and I presume he will--you're our agent,” and we shook hands.

Then I came home. Of course as I'd done before, I called up Mr. Heimerdinger and he graciously agreed to write over and tell them (he never could find me down at Wall Street) that I was a very nice boy, certainly honorable in every possible way. So we became the agents for the Nonesuch Press.

Q:

What did this involve?

Cerf:

Well, it began with an edition of the Divine Comedy bound in orange vellum with illustrations by William Blake. That book came out, I think, at $46 a copy, and we kept trying to get more and more, and finally they sent us 500 copies for America. By this time we had our name on them--Nonesuch Press and Random House.

Q:

You had started the name Random House then.

Cerf:

I'll tell you the Random House story.





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