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The Blue Heron Press, Inc.

1952-1956
43 West 94 Street, New York 25
(1952)
47 West 63 Street, New York 23
(1953 - 1956)

                               

 
With the self-publication of Spartacus, for five years Howard Fast was an author-publisher. He incorporated, and the new name and address appeared for the first time in the 7th printing of Spartacus, the paperback edition, in April, 1952.

Frank Campenni [1930-2000], in his 1971 dissertation, "Citizen Howard Fast: A Critical Biography", writes

"...Fast organized the Blue Heron publishing house, which he named after the inn where the Jewish patriot, Haym Salomon, had hidden out while fleeing his British pursuers (as chronicled in Fast's biographical novel of Salomon [Haym Salomon; Son of Liberty] in 1941)." [372]

The relevant section of Haym Salomon, Salomon having escaped from prison on the eve of his scheduled execution:

"He came to a heavily timbered building, with a sign out showing that it was called the 'Blue Heron Rest.' The Stars and Stripes hung over the doorway, but Salomon was quite certain that somewhere the innkeeper had folded away a Union Jack..." [p 66, 1941]

Fast himself, in his 1990 Being Red says,

"I incorporated and became the Blue Heron Press. The name rose from the caustic suggestion of a friend that I call it the Red Herring Press, and while that was colorful, it did not strike me as a fruitful aid to selling books." [298]

Between 1952 and 1956*, Blue Heron published 16 titles, 11 by Fast — the paperback Spartacus, four new books, an anthology of short stories, a play published in England, and a 4-volume uniform reedition of his best works, in hardcover and paperback.

*(when the Khrushchev Report was released, resulting in Fast's public disavowal of Communism... published in The Naked God, in 1957 by Praeger)

 
#hcpbeditionauthortitleyear
1952
1-+7thHoward FastSpartacus1952 (Apr)
2++uniformHoward FastFreedom Road1952 (Nov)
3+-1stHoward FastTony and the Wonderful Door1952 (Nov)
1953
4++uniformHoward FastCitizen Tom Paine1953
5++uniformHoward FastThe Last Frontier1953
6++uniformHoward FastMy Glorious Brothers1953
7+-1stHoward FastThe Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti1953 (Aug)
8+-50th Anniv.W.E. Burghardt Du BoisThe Souls of Black Folk1953 (Oct)
9+-1stEdward BibermanThe Best Untold1953
1954
10+-1stHoward FastSilas Timberman1954
11+-1st U.S.Howard FastThirty Pieces of Silver, a play1954
12-+1st U.S.Stefan HeymGoldsborough1954 (May)
1955
13++1stHoward FastThe Last Supper and Other Stories1955
14+-1stWalter LowenfelsSonnets of Love and Liberty1955
15-+1stMeridel Le SueurThe Crusaders1955
1956
16+-1stHoward FastThe Story of Lola Gregg1956

Fast on the Blue Heron Press
in Being Red

 

1952

1. Spartacus (1951)


1952 (Apr). pbk, 7th printing, 20.6 cm, Blue Heron Press. 43 West 94 Street, New York 25. ($1.00)*

The first Blue Heron Press book. The first six printings show "Published by the author", and the Box 171 address. This has not changed on the title page, but "The Blue Heron Press" is now printed on the back cover.
The back covers of some later Blue Heron Press editions (e.g. The Last Supper) offer Spartacus (cloth $2.50, paper $1.00). This is the $1.00 paper edition.
(original scans by Nile Hagen of Longfellow's Books)

2. Freedom Road (1944)

1952. 263 pp, 21 cm, [brown cloth, black lettering] ($2.00)*

To the men and women, black and white, yellow and brown, who have laid down their lives in the struggle against fascism.

ABOUT THIS EDITION (from the dustjacket flap)
This edition of Freedom Road, with a special introduction by the great American Scholar, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois, is the first in a project to bring into print a collected edition of the works of Howard Fast. At intervals of a few months hereafter, The Blue Heron Press will publish other Fast books which are now out of print. They will be uniform with this edition of Freedom Road, so that by buying them as they appear, one can plan to acquire a uniform collected works. Freedom Road is also available in attractive, sturdy paper covers; price $1.00.

pbk, 263 pp, 20.4 cm. ($1.00)*

3. Tony and the Wonderful Door


1952 (Nov). "First Printing". [tan linson, brown lettering], 64 pp, 24.2 cm, illustrations by William Vigoda. ($2.00)*

For my own children and for all the
other children who keep asking me why
I don't write more books for them.

1953

4. Citizen Tom Paine (1943)

1953. 341 pp, 21 cm, [blue-green linson, black lettering].($2.75)*

To Bette
pbk, 341 pp, 20.3 cm. ($1.00)*

5. The Last Frontier (1941)


1953. 307 pp, 21 cm, [light sand linson, black lettering]. ($3.00)*

The text on the back cover is excerpted from Carl Van Doren's introduction to the 1942 Press of the Reader's Club edition of The Last Frontier.

For My Father
WHO TAUGHT ME TO LOVE NOT
ONLY THE AMERICA THAT IS PAST,
BUT THE AMERICA THAT WILL BE
pbk, 307 pp, 20.4 cm. ($1.00)*

6. My Glorious Brothers (1948)

1953. 280 pp, 21 cm. ($3.00)*

To all men, Jew and Gentile,
who have laid down their lives
in that ancient and unfinished struggle
for human freedom and dignity
pbk, 280 pp, 20.4 cm. ($1.00)*

7. The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti; a New England legend

1953 (Aug). 254 pp, 21 cm, "First Printing, 1953", [orange-red linson, black lettering]. ($3.00)*

TO THOSE brave Americans who, today and yesterday, have accepted prison and even death--rather than betray the principles they believed in, the land they loved, or the people whose trust they bore.

The dustjacket advertises all the Blue Heron volumes above, and other Fast novels. The 4th printing lists: 1st printing - August 1953; 2nd printing - August 1953; 3rd printing - August 1953; 4th printing - September 1953.

8. The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

W.E. Burghardt Du Bois [1868-1963]
1953. (Oct). 265 pp, 21 cm, [black cloth spine, printed boards, glassine dj]. ($5.00)*
To Burghardt and Yolande
the lost and the found

"Copyright A.C. McClurg & Co. Copyrighted 1953 by W.E. Burghardt Du Bois".

"When Shirley Graham came to me and asked me whether I would reprint W. E. B. Du Bois's classic work, The Souls of Black Folk, which no other publisher would touch, I agreed - again, a no-profit-net-loss project, but a very beautiful book that made me quite proud." Being Red

New Introduction to Fiftieth Anniversary Jubilee Edition


1992
The
Souls of Black
folk

A limited, numbered and
autographed edition of
W. E. Burghardt Du Bois'
famous book - published
on the fiftieth anniversary
of its original issuance
1903 • 1953
W.E.B.Du Bois

The Blue Heron Press, Inc.

THE SOULS OF BLACK FOLK
by Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois $5.00
First published fifty years ago, this beautiful book is widely considered the classic of American Negro literature. Until recently, it was out of print and prictically unobtainable. Now, for the first time in a generation, it is available.

The BLUE HERON edition of The Souls of Black Folk has been limited to 2000 copies. Each copy is numbered and autographed by Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois. A new foreword by Dr. Du Bois and an introduction by Shirley Graham have been written for this JUBILEE EDITION. The book is handsomely printed and bound.

From the dusjacket of "The Best Untold"

(On the dustjackets of Goldsborough (1954) and Sonnets of Love and Liberty (1955)
the price is $3.00, perhaps without the autograph label.)

9. The Best Untold, a book of paintings

Edward Biberman [1904-1986]

1953. [64] pp, [white cloth], 28.5 cm. ($3.00)*

To Sonja

1954

10. Silas Timberman
1954. 311 pp, 21 cm, "First Printing, 1954", [orange linson, black lettering]. ($3.00)*

I dedicate this book to the hundreds of teachers who have fought so valiantly against tyranny over the minds of men, and who have defended so bravely the right to speak and teach the truth --and who have thereby written a new epic of honor and courage in the cause of America's freedom.

11. Thirty Pieces of Silver (1954)


1954. 96 pp, 19.2 cm, "Copyright 1954...", [black cloth spine, printed boards]. ($2.50)*

"Made and printed in Great Britain."

Howard Fast on Thirty Pieces of Silver in Being Red.
Advertising letter for the Blue Heron edition

To the thousands of American anti-fascists who wear
the mantle of their country's honor nobly and proudly

12. Goldsborough

Stefan Heym [1913-2001]

1954 (May). pbk, 511 pp, 21.5 cm, "First edition". ($2.00)*

To Angus Cameron

1955

13. The Last Supper, and other stories

1955. 214 pp, 21 cm, [white linson, black lettering], "FIRST PRINTING 1955".($3.00)*

For Bette, Rachel and Jonathan
pbk, 214 pp, 21 cm. ($2.00)*

14. Sonnets of Love and Liberty

Walter Lowenfels [1897-1976]

1955. 63 pp, [brown cloth], "First Printing 1955", 22.3 cm. ($1.50)*

To Peace — "The loveliest prisoner of our time."
Walter Lowenfels (1897-1976) came to prominence as one of the US ex-pats living in Paris in the 1920's and 30's. He co-founded Carrefour Press, which famously advocated "the anonymous movement." His early volumes of poetry were widely praised and he was often mentioned in the same breath as Pound and cummings (Henry Miller called him "probably the poet of his age"). He is also partially responsible for the landmark "Imagist Anthology" (he jokingly suggested it) which brought the movement to prominence. As his activism increased, he abandoned poetry in favor of left-wing causes. Lowenfels was a member of the Communist Party and worked for the Daily Worker from the late 1930's until 1953, when he was convicted for conspiring to overthrow the U.S. government (the conviction was soon overturned). In his later years, he returned to poetry, but is perhaps best-remembered for his editing of several anthologies of poetry in support of various causes. A quietly (at least now) significant figure in American letters.
[Thanks to Brian Cassidy for this bio!]

15. Crusaders

Meridel Le Sueur [1900-1996]

1955. pbk, 94 pp, 20 cm, "First Printing 1955". ($1.50)*

To my mother and father:
Valiant leaders in the people's struggle
for peace, freedom, and justice

Full text online from the Library of Congress

1956

16. The Story of Lola Gregg
1956. 219 pp, 21 cm, "First Printing, 1956", [blue linson, black lettering]. ($3.00)*

For BETTE

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