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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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yourself. It was always okay with Horace as long as he liked you. And then going into the theater and meeting Otto Kahn was very disastrous for him. He met Mr. Kahn at the wrong time. If he'd met him ten years earlier when the boom market was starting, he'd have been a multi-millionaire.


You were talking about pushing the Modern Library. Can you tell a little bit about how you did push Modern Library?


When we took over the Modern Library, there were 108 titles; and of those 108 there were 12 that immediately stood out as non-Modern Library titles. They had been put in there by Horace to woo authors for his regular list or to impress some girl at some particular time who would say, “I have a friend. Won't you put his book on Modern Library?" Anyway, they didn't belong there. So the first thing we did was to throw out 12 titles out of 108. That took a little nerve.

The second thing we did concerned the bindings. They had this castor oil smell, and we got this new flexible cloth, semi limp binding, and got Rockwell Kent to design a new endpaper for us and Elmer Adler to improve the typography and get out our first catalogue. Instead of the trashy-looking catalogue, we put out something with some class. In those days publishers‘catalogues didn't amount to anything. It was all done in a very unimaginative, routine way. I got Elmer Adler of the Pynson Printers in the Times building to design our catalogue for us. His bill was fabulous--because bills and estimates didn't mean much to Elmer. He'd tell you he'd do

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