Benziger Brothers

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Logo of RCL Benziger, heir of the Benziger Brothers

Benziger Brothers was a Roman Catholic book publishing house founded by Joseph Charles Benziger, in 1792, in Einsiedeln Switzerland.[1]

History[edit]

Benziger Brothers token.

The company started as a Catholic religious publisher. In 1833, Benziger's sons, Charles and Nicholas, succeeded their father under the firm name of "Charles and Nicholas Benziger Brothers". Two years later, in addition to their book publishing business, they began the lithographing of religious pictures, as well as the coloring of them by hand, before the introduction of chromolithography.[1]

Charles Benziger[edit]

Charles Benziger (b. 1799, d. 1873), a man with a good classical education, devoted himself especially to the literary end of the business. In 1840, the Einsiedler Kalender was founded. The Pilgrim, a popular Catholic periodical established at the same time, lasted only ten years. Charles also took an active part in public life, and served as President of the Swiss Canton of Schwyz.[1]

Nicholas Benziger[edit]

Nicholas Benziger home in New York
Benziger 345 Edgecomb plaque jeh.JPG

Nicholas Benziger (b. 1808, d. 1864), who took charge of the technical part of the business, proved himself a pioneer, introducing to the mountain village of Einsiedeln a series of improved trades methods as they appeared from time to time in the great centres of Europe and America. Under his guidance the work of book-binding, which was formerly carried on in the family at home, was systematized. In 1844, the old hand-press was superseded by the first power press. Stereotyping was introduced in 1846; in 1856 steel and copper printing; and in 1858 electrotyping.[1]

End of 19th century[edit]

On the retirement of Charles and Nicholas Benziger in 1860, the business was continued by three of Charles' sons (Charles, Martin and J.N. Adelrich) and three of Nicholas' sons (Nicholas, Adelrich, and Louis). Under this third generation, the different branches of the house were still further developed, chromolithography and other modern printing methods being added. In 1867, the Alte und Neue Welt, the first illustrated popular Catholic German magazine on a large scale, was begun, and then appeared a number of illustrated Catholic family books and a series of school books, including a Bible history in twelve languages, together with prayer books by well-known authors. Between 1880 and 1895 a fourth generation succeeded to the business, and the firm name was changed to Benziger and Company.[1]

Expansion to the United States[edit]

Although Benziger Brothers had established offices in the United States (in New York City) in 1853, its development as a publishing house did not begin until 1860 when J.N. Adelrich Benziger and Louis Benziger took charge. In 1860, further offices were opened in Cincinnati and, in 1887, one in Chicago. The publishing of English Catholic books was vigorously undertaken, and their catalogue covered the field of devotional, educational, and juvenile literature, besides works of a theological character. Benziger was not only a publishing house, but also a liturgical supply factory.[2][3] The American firm of Benziger Brothers is now independent of the Swiss house. The Holy See conferred on the firm the title "Printers to the Holy Apostolic See" in 1867.[1]

20th and 21st century[edit]

In 1968, Benziger was acquired by Crowell Collier Macmillan (later to become Macmillan, Inc.), and the following year its headquarters were moved to California. In 1971, it was merged with two other companies — Bruce Publishing, founded in Milwaukee in the 1890s, and Glencoe Press, began in Beverly Hills in 1966. In July 2007 the Benziger name and product line was purchased from McGraw Hill by CFM Publishing and merged with Texas based Catholic publisher RCL - Resources For Christian Living - to form RCL Benziger. The New Company is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, as in the 19th century.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Joseph Charles Benzinger". Newadvent.org. Retrieved 2014-05-01. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Catalogue of religious articles, lithographs and engravings .. : Benziger brothers. [from old catalog] : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". Archive.org. 2001-03-10. Retrieved 2014-05-01.