Blowing the Horn: A New Era

When I started at the Horn Book at the beginning of our current century, I apprenticed myself to a man who was in no rush to let go of the previous one.

Born in 1917, a printer who was the son of a printer and the father of another, Thomas Todd was a man who knew as much about children’s books as he did about yaks. He had inherited a stake in the Horn Book from his father, who had acquired it when the founding editor, the estimable Bertha Mahony Miller, was struggling to pay her printing bill.

For more than seventy years, Tom and his family were the primary owners of the Horn Book. From time to time, perhaps, they even made money from the company. But their interest in the Magazine was never especially commercial. It was a sort of stewardship, an obligation that also made them proud.

By 2001, however, Tom was an old man. Family interest in the enterprise wouldn’t survive him. Could I help guide the Horn Book into a new era, learn the business, nudge it toward another safe harbor? Well, maybe. I tried, anyway.

From the May/June 2024 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Our Centennial. For more Horn Book centennial coverage, click here. Find more in the "Blowing the Horn" series here.

Single copies of this special issue are available for $15.00 including postage and may be ordered from:

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Anne E. Quirk

Former publisher of the Horn Book, Inc., Anne E. Quirk is the author of, most recently, Larger than Life: Lyndon B. Johnson and the Right to Vote (Norton, 2021).

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