Golden Book Encyclopedia

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The Golden Book Encyclopedia is a set of children's encyclopedias published by Western Printing and Lithographing Company under the name Golden Press.[1] Advertised with circulars in newspapers, the encyclopedias were sent out in weekly or bi-weekly installments. Supermarket chains, such as Acme Markets, used these encyclopedias as a promotional hook to lure shoppers.

The front page of every volume describes the books as, "Fact-filled Volumes Dramatically Illustrated with More Than 6,000 Pictures. The Only Encyclopedia for Young Grade-school children. Accurate and Authoritative. Entertainingly written and illustrated to make learning an adventure."[2] Subjects covered in the series included nature, science, history, geography, literature, and the arts.


The first edition of the encyclopedia was published in a joint venture between Simon & Schuster and Western Printing and Lithographing Company in 1946. The author of the edition was Dorothy A. Bennett and the illustrator was Cornelius De Witt. A 16-volume hardcover edition was published from 1959 to 1969; these sets were written by Bertha Morris Parker, formerly of the Laboratory Schools at the University of Chicago and research associate at the Chicago Natural History Museum. The 1988 edition lists the author as "Golden Press," and contains 4 extra volumes, making it a 20-volume set.


1959 Edition

Other versions[edit]

Besides publishing an encyclopedia for children, Golden Press has also published similar reference material, which includes The Golden Book Encyclopedia of Natural Science and The Golden Home and High School Encyclopedia.


60 million copies of individual Encyclopedia volumes were sold between 1959 and 1961.[3]


  1. ^ Western Publishing: Information and Much More from
  2. ^ Parker, Bertha M. The Golden Book Encyclopedia. 1st ed. 16 vols. New York: Western, 1959.
  3. ^ Marcus, Leonard S. (2007). "Part Five: Cold War and Magic Kingdom". Golden Legacy. Golden Books. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-375-82996-3. ...the sixteen-volume set sold 60 million copies, making it one of the most commercially successful ventures in modern publishing history.