Prentice Hall is a major educational publisher owned by Pearson PLC. Prentice Hall publishes print and digital content for the 6–12 and higher-education market. Prentice Hall distributes its technical titles through the Safari Books Online e-reference service.
On October 13, 1913, law professor Dr. Charles Gerstenberg and his student Richard Ettinger founded Prentice Hall. Gerstenberg and Ettinger took their mothers' maiden names—Prentice and Hall—to name their new company.
Prentice Hall was acquired by Gulf+Western in 1984, and became part of that company's publishing division Simon & Schuster. Publication of trade books ended in 1991. Simon & Schuster's educational division, including Prentice Hall, was sold to Pearson by G+W successor Viacom in 1998.
A Prentice Hall subsidiary, Reston Publishing, was in the foreground of technical-book publishing when microcomputers were first becoming available. It was still unclear who would be buying and using "personal computers," and the scarcity of useful software and instruction created a publishing market niche whose target audience yet had to be defined. In the spirit of the pioneers who made PCs possible, Reston Publishing's editors addressed non-technical users with the reassuring, and mildly experimental, Computer Anatomy for Beginners by Marlin Ouverson of People's Computer Company. They followed with a collection of books that was generally by and for programmers, building a stalwart list of titles relied on by many in the first generation of microcomputers users.