Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Harlin Quist books... learn something new every day
For years I've seen books with the publishing imprint of Harlin Quist -- all the books by this publisher have been (with a few exceptions) Children's picture books and I thought (mostly, I didn't think but didn't bother to do any research) that it was a play on words of some sort. You know - Harlequin Romances, Harlequins, etc.
Well, today, just for the heck of it (and because I was listing a small batch of new titles I just bought by that publisher) I thought I would do a quick check on the imprint.
Lo and behold, Harlin Quist is (now was- he died in 2000) the name of a man -- the publisher himself.
Harlin Quist started as a theatre producer, but switched to the publishing business in the 1960's. Quist's publishing operation began in 1966 and regularly produced high quality (though sometimes rather odd and unusual titles) through 1984. In the later years, the books lost some of their luster and were published only in paperback editions. He did publish a small collection of adult fiction during a one year period - even garnering awards for them, but it was more of an experiment than a real thought to change the focus of the company.
Quist then took a break from publishing for nearly a decade starting in 1984 for another stint in theatrics. But his passion was books and through the 1990's more titles were published, though he switched his base from the United States to France where he was very well received.
Some of the authors published via Harlin Quist books include Robert Graves, Eugene Ionesco, Shirley Jackson and reprints with new illustrations of books by classic authors such as Oscar Wilde, Eugene Field and Edward Lear. One book includes illustrations by Edward Gorey (He was There from the Day We Moved In by Rhoda Levine).
Harlin Quist died May 13, 2000
He left behind a legacy of a quirky, intriguing books for children and their adults.