by Barbara Schmidt

A History of and Guide to

...bound in genuine leather with accents of 22kt gold.
1998 Easton Press sales brochure

1998 sales brochure for the Easton Press Mark Twain Library courtesy of Michael Spector

Chapter 40
Easton Press Mark Twain Library (1998)

History Behind Easton Press

Easton Press was established in 1975 as a division of a company known as MBI, Incorporated, a company formerly known as Danbury Mint. Founded by Ralph Glendinning and Ted Stanley in 1969, Danbury Mint specialized in direct marketing of commemorative items that were designed to "hit the heartstrings of America in easy-to-arrange monthly installments" (Hoover online financial reports). In a series of publishing buyouts in the mid-1970s, MBI acquired the rights to books formerly published by George Macy (b. 1900 - d. 1956) under the Heritage Press and Heritage Club banners, which also included some of Macy's exclusive and initially expensive Limited Editions Club volumes. The Limited Editions Club volumes featured limitation numbers and autographs by the illustrators. Macy's Heritage Club editions were textually identical but had no limitation numbers, were not autographed by the illustrators and featured different bindings.

With a mailing list that has been estimated at 10 million names, MBI was well-established to launch a publishing business that featured formerly pricey limited editions. Easton Press issued a number of Mark Twain's works in various bindings. However, they have only issued one Mark Twain collection in a uniform edition. These books were marketed via a plan similar to the one implemented by John Alun Stevenson in the 1930s with the American Artists edition of Mark Twain's works as well as Greystone Definitive Edition in the mid-1960s.

Sales Techniques

Sold by direct marketing and subscription sales techniques featuring monthly payments, Easton Press aimed for consumers who desired books bound in leather and gold with all the trimmings--books that decorate a room. Customers reserved their sets ahead of publication and were allowed to pay for one book per month and return any volume within thirty days. Price per book was $45.50. A complete set, if all twelve volumes were accepted, would total $546.
1998 sales brochure for the Easton Press Mark Twain Library courtesy of Michael Spector


The Mark Twain Volumes and Their Illustrators

The volumes included in this collection are an eclectic mix of twelve volumes. Eight titles were previously issued under George Macy's publishing umbrella. Three titles had been previously published by the University of California Press. One was a random collection of previously published Mark Twain works unique to this edition. The books feature no volume numbers and are listed here in order of their initial appearance from previous publication.


Summary of Features



"George Macy Companies: Limited Editions Club & The Heritage Press." Accessed 5 August 2013.

Heyman, Randy. Personal correspondence 22 July 2013.

Majure, Bill R. "A Brief History of the Limited Editions Club." Accessed 5 August 2013.

"MBI, Incorporated Company Profile from Hoovers." Accessed 5 August 2013.



Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search