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Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Harcourt Brace Jovanovich i(A38121 works by) (Organisation) assertion
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Harcourt, Brace and Howe (1919-1921): Alfred Harcourt (1881-1954), Donald Brace (1881-1955), and William D. Howe founded Harcourt, Brace and Howe in New York in 1919 with a start-up capital of some US$123,000. Harcourt and Brace had started their careers in publishing with the Henry Holt Company in 1904, after graduating from Columbia University: Harcourt worked in the sales and editorial departments, while Brace was employed in book planning and manufacturing. When the pair decided to leave Holt and start their own publishing house, they brought in Howe, at that time head of the English Department at Indiana University, as a third partner. Among the first books published by Harcourt, Brace and Howe were Sinclair Lewis's Free Air (1919) and Main Street (1920), John Maynard Keynes's The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1920), and Dorothy Canfield's The Brimming Cup (1921).

Harcourt, Brace and Company (1921-1960): When William Howe departed in 1921, the firm became Harcourt, Brace and Company, the name under which it traded until 1960. In addition to publishing its own titles, Harcourt, Brace and Company also reached an agreement with Paris-based fine-arts publisher Pegasus Press in 1929 to become that company's US publisher. During this time, the firm published works by such authors as Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, T. S. Eliot, James Thurber, James Gould Cozzens, George Orwell, Robert Penn Warren, and Robert Lowell, along with five more Sinclair Lewis novels. Penn Warren's All the King's Men and Lowell's Lord Weary's Castle were both Pulitzer Prize winners in 1946, while Cozzens won the Pulitzer for Guard of Honour in 1948.

During the 1940s, the company established the Harbrace Modern Classics series and published its first Harbrace college handbook. Alfred Harcourt was succeeded as president by Brace in 1942. Brace was followed in 1948 by S. Spencer Scott, who oversaw the acquisition of Reynal and Hitchcock that same year.

Harcourt, Brace and World (1960-1970): Between 1960 and 1970, the company traded as Harcourt, Brace and World, following its merger with the World Book Company, an established publisher of elementary textbooks and tests. The deal was organised by William Jovanovich, who had joined the company's text department in 1947 and had risen to president in 1954. It was ultimately a cleverly conceived strategic move on the part of Jovanovich, because, although the company had a significant market share of the high-school textbook market, it had almost no presence within elementary publishing. The merger effectively established the company as America's leading textbook publisher with the stroke of a pen. The following year, Jovanovich convinced the former owners of Pantheon to come out of retirement and become co-publishers in a personal imprint that specialised in the works of distinguished Europeans.

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (1970-1991): During the late 1960s, Jovanovich orchestrated a number of other deals that further expanded the company's publishing operations and resulted in his name being added to Harcourt and Brace. These deals included the acquisition of Grune and Stratton (1968), Academic Press (1969), and Johnson Reprint (1969), along with a co-publishing arrangement with Hiram Haydn and Tony Godwin. Under Jovanovich's leadership, the company's name changed once again (to Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). The company also diversified into non-publishing businesses such as insurance and business consulting. These ventures saw the company undergo it greatest period of economic growth. Among the more significant acquisitions during the 1970s and 1980s were The Psychological Corporation (1971), Pyramid Publications (1973: renamed Jove Books and sold to the Putnam Berkley group in 1979), the SeaWorld marine parks (1976), television stations, and a number of professional and business magazines. The company also moved its headquarters from New York to Orlando, Florida, in 1984.

With its annual revenue rising during this period from around to US $450 million to over US $1 billion, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich became one of the richest and most diversified publishing operations of the twentieth century. This income was achieved through successful strategic moves such as selling off its SeaWorld investment, bought for US $4.6 million and resold in 1989 for US $1.1 billion.

Harcourt, Brace and Company / Harcourt Inc (1991-2001): In 1991, General Cinema Corporation (GCC) acquired Harcourt Brace Jovanovich for more than $1.5 billion. Two years later, GCC changed its corporate name to Harcourt General, restored the 1921-1960 company name (Harcourt, Brace and Company) to its publishing division, and sold its cinema interests. Eight years later, Harcourt General sold off its retail division and shortened the publishing division's name to Harcourt, Inc. The new publishing operations were also re-organised so as to target the growing global markets for education, assessment, training, and professional information. The restructure saw four strategic groups set up, each focusing on specific areas: Scientific, Technical, and Medical (STM); Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education (K-12); Higher Education; and Corporate and Professional Services.

The STM leading brands included Academic Press, Mosby Inc., Churchill Livingstone (part of Harcourt Health Sciences), and MD Consult. Harcourt's education portfolio included Harcourt School Publishers; Holt, Reinhart & Winston; Steck-Vaughn; Harcourt College Publishers; Harcourt Learning Direct; and Harcourt Educational Measurement. Corporate and Professional Services included The Psychological Corporation, Assessment Systems Inc., and Harcourt Learning Centre.

Harcourt Trade Publishers and Harcourt Education (2001-2007): In 2001, the Anglo-Dutch publishing company Reed Elsevier acquired Harcourt General and the Harcourt, Inc. publishing division. Reed Elsevier's new publishing operations were distinguished as Elsevier (science and medical), LexisNexis (legal), and Harcourt Education (education), and also incorporated Harcourt Trade Publishers and Reed Business (business).

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2007- ): In mid 2007, Reed Elsevier sold both its US schools education division (Harcourt Education) and Harcourt Trade Publishers to the Boston-based Houghton Mifflin Riverdeep Group (HMRG). The merging of Houghton Mifflin's and Harcourt's elementary, secondary, and supplemental businesses (subsequently renamed Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company) solidified HMRG's position as the pre-eminent educational publisher in the United States. The acquisition also saw the merging of the two companies' trade divisions, which has since become known as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade and Reference Publishers.

Another publishing division was also established in 2007: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt International Publishers, which sells both products and services to customers outside of the United States.

Among the earliest Harcourt titles associated with Australian or Australian-based writers were several volumes of poetry by 'Anna Wickham' (q.v., aka Edith Harper), an Englishwoman who spent much of her youth in Brisbane. These were published in 1915 and 1921 when the company was known as Harcourt, Brace and Howe. In 1929, M. Barnard Eldershaw (q.v., the writing name for Flora Eldershaw and Marjorie Barnard) had the first of several works published by Harcourt, Brace and Company. Between 1921 and 1960, when it became Harcourt, Brace and World, the company published such Australian authors as John Farrow, P.L. Travers (aka Helen Goff, the author of Mary Poppins), Christina Stead, Thomas Keneally, Morris West, Patricia Wrightson, Mem Fox, and Emily Rodda (qq.v.).

Authors published in Harcourt, Brace and Company or Harcourt Brace Jovanovich anthologies include Rosaleen Love, Elizabeth Jolley, and Helen Andreoni (qq.v.).

Most Referenced Works


  • Publisher's website

  • Further Reference

    'Alfred Harcourt' (obituary). New York Times 21 June 1954, p.23.

    Dzwonkoski, Elizabeth. 'Harcourt Brace Jovanovich / Harcourt, Brace, and World / Harcourt, Brace and Company / Harcourt, Brace and Howe.' In Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 46 - American Literary Publishing Houses, 1900-1980: Trade and Paperback. Ed. Peter Dzwonkoski. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1986, pp.180-183.

    Harcourt, Alfred. 'Publishing Since 1900.' Bulletin of The New York Library 41 (1937), pp.895-905. (Reprinted in Bowker Lectures on Book Publishing, New York: Bowker, 1957, pp. 28-41.)

    --- Some Experiences. Riverside, CT: Alfred and Ellen Harcourt, 1951.

    'Harcourt (Publisher).' Wikipedia. Online (sighted: 25/03/2011).

    'Harcourt, Brace Completes 15 Years.' Publisher's Weekly 126 (28 July 1934), p.274.

    'Houghton Mifflin Company Completes Acquisition of Harcourt Education, Harcourt Trade and Greenwood-Heinemann Divisions from Reed Elsevier, Creating Preeminent K-12 Educational Publisher.' Houghton Mifflin. Online (sighted: 25/03/2011).

    'Reed Elsevier's Acquisition of Harcourt General to be allowed by the Department of Justice in the U.S.' Reed Elsevier PLC press release. Online (sighted: 5/04/2011).

    'Story of Harcourt, Brace and World, The.' Book Production Magazine 76 (Nov. 1962) pp.34-37. (Reprinted in Profiles in Book Publishing, New York: Freund, 1963, pp.8-11.)

Last amended 16 Jun 2011 11:22:24
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