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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Van Vechten--Carl Van Vechten and Fanis Marinoff, his wife. And while all the other publishers were besieging Madden with offers, I signed up Gene O'Neill personally down in Sea Island, Georgia. We shook hands and the whole deal was made.

Q:

You didn't consult his agent?

Cerf:

Not at all. It didn't hurt Mr. Madden. Mr. Madden got his commission, but O'Neill just told him that he was going to come with me.

Q:

That was a real feather in your cap.

Cerf:

Yes. Madden was very surprised, because all the big publishers wanted him. We were kid publishers still. We had done well with the Modern Library and our press books, but we had no new authors to speak of. We had done a book on architecture and a few things like that--odds and ends--but nothing big.

Well, I came back to New York elated. We had O'Neill in our pocket. With O'Neill, this gave me the leg up on Robinson Jeffers, whom I had never met because he had never been in the office, but luckily I was the one who had written to him when we were getting his poetry together, so he knew about me. I hustled out to California and signed him up. So we got Liveright's two prize packages. Then a little later we signed Sam Adams, a wonderful man who had been pretty famous in





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