Atheneum Books

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Atheneum Books was a New York City publishing house established in 1959 by Alfred A. Knopf, Jr., Simon Michael Bessie and Hiram Haydn.

In the 2000s, Atheneum Books for Young Readers was created as a children's-book imprint of Simon & Schuster. It has published the popular May Bird fantasy series for young adults, inaugurated by May Bird and the Ever After (2005), and the Olivia series of picture books featuring Olivia the pig (from 2000). The Higher Power of Lucky won the 2007 Newbery Medal. In a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."[1]


Alfred A. Knopf, Jr. left his family publishing house and created Atheneum Books in 1959 with Simon Michael Bessie (Harpers) and Hiram Haydn (Random House).[2] It became the publisher of Pulitzer Prize winners Edward Albee, Charles Johnson, James Merrill, Mona Van Duyn and Theodore H. White. Knopf personally recruited editor Jean E. Karl to establish a Children's Book Department in 1961.[3][4]

Atheneum merged with Charles Scribner's Sons to become The Scribner Book Company in 1978. The acquisition included Rawson Associates. Scribner was acquired by Macmillan in 1984. Macmillan was purchased by Simon & Schuster in 1994.[5]

For a detailed, endearing description of how Atheneum Publishers came into existence, read Hiram Haydn's memoirs, Words & Faces (an intimate chronicle of book and magazine publishing); Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1974; pages 105 to 140.


Company homepage:


  1. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  2. ^ Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (February 16, 2009). "Alfred A. Knopf Jr., Influential Publisher, Dies at 90". New York Times. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-22. "Alfred A. Knopf Jr., who left the noted publishing house run by his parents to become one of the founders of Atheneum Publishers in 1959, died on Saturday. He was 90, the last of the surviving founders, and lived in New York City." 
  3. ^ Karl, Jean (Edna). Summer 2006. Alan Jalowitz. Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Penn State University. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  4. ^ Birthday Bios: Jean E. Karl. No date. Vicki Palmquist. Children's literature network. (c) 2002–2008. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  5. ^ "History". Simon & Schuster. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-22. "In 1978 Scribner acquired Atheneum, publishers of Edward Albee, Charles Johnson, and Theodore H. White. The Atheneum acquisition also brought with it the Rawson Associates imprint. And in 1984, the Scribner Book Companies, which by then included a great children's division and a distinguished reference division, merged with Macmillan." [dead link]