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قراءة كتاب A Brief Account of the Educational Publishing Business in the United States

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‏اللغة: English
A Brief Account of the Educational Publishing Business in the United States

A Brief Account of the Educational Publishing Business in the United States

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 9

Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci, The Tapestry Weavers, Velasquez, The Architect, Rembrandt, as well as many others made from drawings cleverly done by artists of manifest ability. The pictures in this series of readers were evidently selected with as much care as the text, which contained selections of high literary value.

“If I were asked,” said James Russell Lowell, “what book is better than a cheap book, I should answer that there is one book better than a cheap book, and that is a book honestly come by.”

Prior to the enactment of state copyright laws, the first of which was passed by Connecticut in 1783 and the last of which were enacted by Georgia and New York in 1786, and the passage of a national copyright law by Congress in 1790, literary property had no protection whatever against piracy. Printers could help themselves ad lib. to books of all kinds turned out by other printers. Dr. Noah Webster, realizing the danger to an author arising from such piracy, labored diligently for many years to secure the enactment of a copyright law. He pleaded that the Constitution of the United States authorized Congress to “promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

Previous to the adoption of the Constitution in 1787, the nation had no power to act, but on Madison’s motion Congress in May, 1783, recommended the states to pass acts securing copyright for fourteen years. Dr. Webster traveled from state to state, urging members of legislatures to secure the passage of copyright laws in their states, and some thirteen states did pass such laws prior to the national act; but when Congress finally took action in the matter, Webster’s work was done. It was to his great advantage and that of all authors who have produced books subsequent to 1790 that a national law preventing the stealing of literary property was passed. To Noah Webster and his successful work in securing the enactment of a national copyright law, the literary world owes a great debt.

The international copyright bill passed Congress March 3, 1891, thanks to the diligent and unceasing labors of Mr. W. W. Appleton, the present President of the Copyright League, Major George Haven Putnam, its Secretary, and Robert Underwood Johnson.

It is my hope that this brief and most incomplete historical sketch will convince us afresh of the truth of such almost axiomatic statements as that made in the New York Sun in 1915, namely, that the advance in the United States in textbooks has been as great as in any other phase of American life. Large credit is due both to authors and to publishers for this really wonderful advancement, for both have keenly realized the truth of Disraeli’s epigram which declared that “the youth of a nation are the trustees of posterity,” and have labored diligently to place in the hands of this youth books sound in their pedagogy, accurate as to facts, inspiring in their influence, and as attractive as possible in their appearance, to the end that these trustees of posterity may be sent from the schools full armed to cope successfully with ignorance, foolish and dangerous theories concerning religious and political life, and all other evils that now or in the future may menace our civilization.

The immortal Milton declared that “a good book is the precious life blood of a master spirit.” It has been and will continue to be the happy privilege of the publisher to clothe the good book of the master spirit in a style befitting its character, and to place it within the reach of those who should have its message. That the educational publisher is doing that work with much greater skill now than at any time during the past two centuries is manifest; that he will, as time grows apace, do it increasingly better, who can doubt?