Vanguard Press Dr. Seuss Files, 1937 - 1985 (MSS 657)

Extent: 0.2 Linear feet ( 1 archives box)

The Vanguard Press publishing files are related to distribution rights for THE 500 HATS OF BARTHOLOMEW CUBBINS and TO THINK THAT I SAW IT ON MULBERRY STREET by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel). Largely a correspondence (1968-1985) between Vanguard Press and Grolier Enterprises, the files also contain material related to soft-bound distribution rights with Scholastic Magazines Incorporated, and potential arrangements with Bantam Books Incorporated, Random House, and Xerox Education Publications. The files include copies of the original contracts between Theodor Geisel and Vanguard Press (1937-1938), drafts of agreements and contracts with Grolier and Scholastic, drafts of agreement letters to be signed by Geisel, notes and memoranda for telephone contacts and negotiations with Grolier and others, royalty reports, and photocopies of advance payment checks. The files are arranged chronologically.

The Vanguard Press publishing files contain mainly correspondence and memoranda regarding distribution rights for Theodor Seuss Geisel's first two books, TO THINK THAT I SAW IT ON MULBERRY STREET (1937) and THE 500 HATS OF BARTHOLOMEW CUBBINS (1938). The files contain contracts and correspondence regarding the hard-bound book distribution rights, via their juvenile book club distribution network, with Grolier Enterprises. The files also contain drafts of contracts and memoranda regarding negotiations with Scholastic Magazines, the world's largest publisher of children's books, for the soft-cover distribution rights which Scholastic distributed via school-based book clubs and direct-to-home sales to children.

The files contain copies of Geisel's original contracts (1937-1938) with Vanguard; contracts between Vanguard and Grolier (1968-1985) for the hard-bound distribution rights; contracts between Vanguard and Scholastic (1976) for the soft-bound distribution rights; multiple typescript drafts of agreement letters to be signed by Geisel; negotiation memoranda and correspondence by Evelyn Shrifte, longtime president of Vanguard, (many sent to "HNS," possibly Herbert N. Shrifte, Evelyn's brother, who worked for the book trade bindery, H. Wolff Book Manufacturing Co.), seeking advice regarding the contracts and negotiation tactics to imploy with Grolier, Scholastic, Bantam Books, Xerox Education Publications (publisher of the in-school "WEEKLY READER") and other publishers; correspondence with the Pepper and Pepper law firm; multiple annotated drafts of a contract with Scholastic; and royalty reports from both Scholastic (1976-1979) and Grolier (1972, 1975, 1977-1985). Also included is correspondence from Thomas Woll, Shrifte's nephew, who worked for Vanguard trying to negotiate an agreement with Bantam. Vanguard Press was purchased by Random House in 1986 and its archives are located at Columbia University. The files are arranged chronologically.

Container List


Box 1 Folder 1
Vanguard Press/Dr. Seuss, 1937 - 1976

Contains original contracts between Theodor Seuss Geisel and Vanguard (1937-1938), contracts with Grolier Enterprises, Inc. and Scholastic Magazines, Inc., memoranda regarding contract negotiations, law firm correspondence reviewing the contracts, photocopies of advance payment checks, royalty reports, and multiple annotated drafts of letters of agreements to be signed by Geisel.

Box 1 Folder 2
Vanguard Press/Dr. Seuss, 1977 - 1985

Contains drafts of renegotiated contracts with Grolier and Scholastic, memoranda regarding negotiations with Grolier, Scholastic, and other publishers, royalty reports, photocopies of advance checks, and law firm correspondence.