CRI 550 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Ryerson Press, Nellie Mcclung, Cd Publications

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CRI 550 W4
Feb 9 2016
The Ryerson Press
- First modern book publishing company
- Started by Methodist Church in 1829, launched weekly newspaper and published their
first book a month later
-Started with religious → educational → literary
- general interest published under imprint of book steward’s name (no such thing as a
“publisher”)
- best known steward: William Briggs
- 1879 reorganization, became Methodist Book Publishing House, Briggs elected
steward--like a business manager with a lot of autonomy
- Briggs focused on church materials but when became more established as profitable biz,
turned attention to secular
- reprinted a lot of UK and US things because he got the Cd licenses for these
- entered textbook market
- **oversaw huge increase in Cd publications, produced 20+ original books each year
- MBPH presented itself as nation-building and patriotic
- Market developed for Cd books==responded to nationalism
- Briggs v sharp, could gauge public tastes, trained people who would later become big
publishers
- published international bestsellers, e.g. by Nellie McClung and Robert Service
- Died 1922, left a fortune
- MBPH: every publisher had to be a Methodist minister
- after: book steward wanted a consistent brand, renamed Ryerson Press
- Got Lorne Pierce to be Editor in chief
- Pierce used profits from educational publishing for literary works by big authors
- 1920s-60s = Cd’s most influential publisher
- Quiet Revolution: QC run by Catholic, corrupt government--made deal with Ottawa, QC
can do whatever they want
- Pierce determined to make Ryerson the cultural mecca in Canada
- Spiritual emphasis because Methodist
- Idealism + rabid patriotism
- Literature as a force for patriotic indoctrination = literature as political tool
- 3 MAJOR INFLUENCES: PATRIOTISM, MORALISM, AND PATRIARCHAL
ASSUMPTIONS ON GENDER
- editor of trade division + academic credentials made him special
- 2 major contemporaries: Hugh Eayrs, John McClelland
- all three strongly patriotic, but Pierce was special because he was academic--other two
were sales people
- He directly worked with the writers
- Pierce worked behind the scenes but output of Ryerson was 50% of all books produced
in Cd
- initiated set of basic readers, e.g. Canada Book of Prose
- Very successful and widely used throughout En Cd schools for 35 years
- 1961: textbooks, produced 200K copies
- readers included excerpts from classics, e.g. Longfellow and Shakespeare, etc but also
has Cd authors
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