Conrad First The Joseph Conrad Periodical Archive

Expanding the Scope of "Periodical History" for Literary Studies: Irving Bacheller and His Newspaper Fiction Syndicate

Charles Johanningsmeier, State University College at Cortland

© Charles Johanningsmeier. No part of this text may be reposted or republished without the permission of the author.


"I had a hard struggle in about the most difficult kind of business that any man ever attempted. I was a pioneer in the newspaper syndicate business."

--Irving Bacheller, 1938.1

When literary historians, bibliographers, and cultural historians investigate the "periodicals" in which fiction appeared in the late nineteenth century, they usually define the term to mean "magazines" or "story papers." In doing so, they overlook the type of periodical that one can reasonably argue put fiction in front of the greatest number of readers in the final decades of the century: the newspaper. Between 1880 and 1900 the daily newspaper outdistanced all other print vehicles in its growth rate. In 1880 there were 971 daily newspapers in the United States, and by 1899 this number had risen to 2,226.2 Not only did the number of newspapers grow by leaps and bounds, but so did their individual circulations and number of pages per issue. To help fill these pages and attract readers, almost every newspaper editor of this era printed fiction either on a daily or weekly basis.
Some of this fiction was written by authors living in or near the town or city in which the newspaper was published, and some was simply pirated from British and American magazines and story papers. The most important sources of fiction, however, were the syndicates that supplied hundreds of newspapers across the United States not only with original, copyrighted fiction but also with humor columns, women's page materials, and features about life in foreign countries, all for simultaneous publication. One of the largest of these syndicates was operated between 1884 and 1898 by Irving Bacheller. Bacheller and his syndicate deserve much more attention from scholars, especially literary historians, biographers, and bibliographers than it has so far received. His syndicate, which changed names frequently during its history, purchased approximately 100 short stories and novelettes per year and distributed them to about 100 different newspapers in small and large cities across the country for first American publication. Many of these fictions were by then-unknown or now-forgotten authors, but Bacheller also circulated thirteen stories and sketches by Stephen Crane, six poems and five stories by Rudyard Kipling, nine stories by Mary E. Wilkins (later Freeman), nine stories by Sarah Orne Jewett, eleven stories by Hamlin Garland, and six stories by H. G. Wells. The newspapers in which these fictions were printed each had circulations ranging from 10,000 to 200,000 copies. Given the usual estimate of two readers per copy, Bacheller's syndicated fiction thus reached an audience numbering in the millions.3 Any magazine that published works by these authors and had such a great national circulation would by now have been the subject of a good deal of scholarly scrutiny. Yet, despite the significant impact Bacheller's syndicate had on the American literary marketplace and on the history of periodicals in the United States, it has remained misunderstood, underdocumented, and underappreciated. This article seeks to rectify the situation by providing the first full documentation of the history and operating procedures of Bacheller's syndicate.


Bacheller's syndicate---like those with names such as S. S. McClure's The Associated Literary Press, Tillotson's Newspaper Fiction Bureau, the Authors' Alliance, the Wilson Press Syndicate, the Authors' Syndicate, the Editors' Literary Syndicate, and the International Literary and News Syndicate--has for the most part fallen between the cracks of the disciplines of journalism and literary history. Very little has been written about Bacheller, and much of what has been written about him is often incomplete or incorrect. For example, only one scholarly article, a perfunctory, two-page treatment entitled "Irving Bacheller's Pioneer Syndicate," published in Journalism Quarterly in 1957, has ever been devoted solely to the syndicate. In addition, Elmo Scott Watson, whose A History of Newspaper Syndicates in the United States (1935) had, until my recent dissertation, remained the authoritative word on syndicates, provides only suggestive statements about Bacheller and little actual detailed information. For instance, he writes that "By 1892 Bacheller's syndicate was offering to metropolitan papers each week an amount of material equal in volume to one issue of the Century magazine and the features compared favorably in quality with the reading matter in that periodical. They included short stories by such writers as A. Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, Stephen Crane, Stanley Weyman and Mary E. Wilkins."4 However, Watson provides no specifics as to which works were syndicated, how they were procured, how they were distributed, or who published them.
Even when Bacheller and his syndicate have been briefly recognized in authors' biographies, in bibliographies, or in footnotes to an author's correspondence, the information is often incorrect. This is due mainly to previous scholars' overreliance on Bacheller's two autobiographies: Coming Up the Road: Memories of a North Country Boyhood (1928) and From Stores of Memory (1938). These works, and other vague reminiscences about Bacheller, while interesting and valuable, are certainly neither complete nor reliable and have led such persons as Stephen Crane scholars R. W. Stallman and Lillian Gilkes to write in the 1970s that Bacheller founded his syndicate only in 1894, a decade later than he actually did.5
It should be noted that a small number of bibliographers and textual editors have taken notice of Bacheller's syndicate, although they have not produced treatments that fully explore its broader ramifications. In the course of their research on Crane, for example, Fredson Bowers and Joseph Katz found that much of Crane's work was published by the Bacheller syndicate. Bowers reported his findings as background to Crane's writings and recorded them in portions of the ten-volume University of Virginia edition of Crane's works. In 1975 Katz published a brief account of what the syndicates--including Bacheller's--did, but he was forced to conclude, "There is so much unknown about just these two newspaper syndicates [Bacheller's and his rival McClure's] that I am reluctant to declare the ground of knowledge concerning them more than barely broken. And yet they were crucial to the rise of American literary realism."6
More commonly, however, bibliographies of major authors do not list syndicated newspaper publications at all or do not adequately recognize that such publications were multiplied many times across the United States. Bibliographies of Rudyard Kipling's and Hamlin Garland's works, for example, list only one or two American newspaper appearances of certain individual stories that were syndicated or simply note "Bacheller Syndicate," leaving the impression that the audience for such works was confined to the local circulation area of the one or two newspapers listed. Moreover, scholars investigating periodical serialization in more depth have also failed to document newspaper publications of works via the agency of syndicates such as Bacheller's. In his recent America's Continuing Story: An Introduction to Serial Fiction, 1850-1900(1993), for instance, Michael Lund offers only one sentence about newspaper syndicates and, like J. Don Vann in Victorian Novels in Serial (1985), lists only magazine publications.7


Bacheller, an 1882 graduate of St. Lawrence University whom Hamlin Garland once described as "large of frame and ruddy of face, with smiling eyes and blond hair," did not intend to establish a newspaper syndicate when he moved to New York City in 1882.8 Yet Bacheller, who would in 1900 become famous as the author of the best-selling novel Eben Holden and remain a popular author until the 1930s, was not unlike most recent college graduates in being on the lookout for any promising employment or business opportunity during his first years in New York.
Whether or not Bacheller was the first to syndicate original fiction in galley proof form has over the years been a point of contention among the few scholars looking into the matter, mainly because accounts differ widely as to when and how Bacheller began to syndicate materials. Bacheller himself later claimed that his "was the first newspaper syndicate in America," for "There was no such [syndi cate] preparation by the [New York] Sun or the Boston Globe [in 1884]" (there in fact was such "preparation"), and a colleague wrote in 1888 that "What credit there is in the invention and the development of a new and important system belongs exclusively to Mr. A.[ddison] I.[rving] Bacheller, and no one else." In his autobiographies, however, Bacheller gives no specific dates for his beginnings. Various literary scholars have subsequently been unable to agree on when Bacheller began his syndicating efforts. The year 1883 is most often given as the date when Bacheller founded the American Bureau of Fiction or the New York Press Syndicate, although 1884, 1887, and even, as I mentioned earlier, 1894 are also given.9
In fact, Bacheller actually made his first attempt at syndicating fiction to newspapers--under what title is uncertain--in the fall of 1883, but it was unsuccessful. During the course of his duties as drama reporter for the Brooklyn Daily Times, Bacheller met the English novelist Joseph Hatton in October or November 1883. Hatton, who was accompanying the British actor Henry Irving on his first American tour in order to ghostwrite Irving' s account of it, suggested to Bacheller that he try to syndicate a novel of Hatton's, a practice he told Bacheller was by then commonly used by the Tillotson and Son's firm in Britain. Bacheller then "wrote a circular offering the novel to a large list of newspapers," but was rebuffed and instead sold it to the New York Ledger--a weekly literary miscellany or story paper, not a newspaper--for $3,500, taking a $500 share for himself for acting as an agent; this novel, The Mystery of Margaret Willoughby, was eventu ally published serially between 3 January 1885 and 16 May 1885.10
Precisely when Bacheller began to successfully syndicate fiction to newspapers is less clear, and it is very possible that he did so only after his competitor S. S. McClure syndicated his first work for publication on 15 November 1884. The first fiction I have located that appears to have been syndicated by Bacheller was Opie Read's "Old Amazin' Grace," which was published on 29 November 1884. Certainly by the spring of 1885 Bacheller was syndicating fiction in earnest. A Rochester, New York, newspaper editor wrote to S. S. McClure on 23 May 1885: "They tell me in Brooklyn Bacheller has gone up in [the] literary supply business, and gone west himself," as if this were a relatively recent development.11
Tracing Bacheller's history as a syndicator after these beginnings is equally difficult, in part because from 1884 until the end of his syndicate in early 1898, Bacheller frequently changed the name of his company. These name changes were usually precipitated by a change of partners or investors. From 1884 to 1887 it was known as Bacheller and Co.; from 1887 to early 1891 it was named the Bacheller Newspaper Syndicate; from mid-1891 to November 1894 it was called the Bacheller and Johnson Newspaper Syndicate; and from December 1894 to May 1896, the Bacheller, Johnson, and Bacheller syndicate. At this point, the firm was incorporated and renamed the Bacheller Syndicate, which was the title it held when it was sold in March 1898 to John Brisben Walker of Cosmopolitan magazine. Walker kept Bacheller on as the manager of the renamed International Literary and News Service, but Bacheller left the firm later in 1898 to pursue his own career as an author, and the syndicate folded in November of that year. Over the years of its operation, Bacheller's syndicate expanded geographically, with offices in London and Sydney, and it also expanded its service to include numerous other types of nonfiction materials such as a Washington Letter, a Woman's Page, and a Children's Page. Except for an occasional hiatus, it appears to have consistently syndicated fiction throughout its fourteen years of operation.12


The brief organizational history of the Bacheller syndicate tells only part of the story. Even more interesting to scholars interested in the history of American periodicals are the details of the innovative methods his syndicate used to obtain, market, process (edit, print, illustrate, and copyright), and send out fiction to newspapers for publication. These reveal an operating system very different than those of contemporary magazines and story papers.
Bacheller was truly one of those personages vital to making the connection between producers and readers, those whom Robert Darnton has recently labeled "The Forgotten Middlemen of Literature." Outlined on paper, his organizational plan seemed simple enough. If he could buy a short story for $150, a higher price than most magazines of the time paid, and sell it to one hundred newspapers for five dollars each, he could thus make a substantial profit for himself. In the United States, because of the rapidly growing number of metropolitan daily newspapers, the market appeared virtually unlimited, and regularly forming a "syndicate" of a group of one hundred or more newspapers seemed easy.13 To succeed in the newspaper market, Bacheller and his chief rival S. S. McClure separately introduced numerous innovative methods but also continued to operate along many of the lines established by slightly earlier syndicates run by William Frederic Tillotson of Britain and Charles A. Dana, editor of the New York Sun newspaper: buy work from currently popular authors, arrange to sell it to a large number of newspapers whose circulation areas do not overlap, guarantee them exclusive use in their territory, send them galley-proof copy (sheets of column-wide paper with the story printed on it) in advance so they can typeset it in their own plants, require them to print a copyright notice identifying the author or the syndicate, and make sure they all publish the work simultaneously. The outline of this type of business seems straightforward, sensible, and profitable. The details of the history and operating methods of Bacheller's syndicate, however, reveal a much more problematic business proposition that was extremely difficult to manage.
From the start, for example, Bacheller had a hard time procuring the necessary amount and quality of fiction from authors that would be saleable to newspaper editors for first publication. To provide fiction six days a week throughout the year, Bacheller needed to purchase many more fictions than any single monthly magazine did. Given his later pattern of supplying many stories that ran for two, three, four, and even five and six days, it is probable that the number of separate fictions he syndicated in each of his first few years of operation was about 100. From late 1888 until early 1889, Bacheller appears to have syndicated mostly nonfiction feature materials; one commentator in 1888 reported that "Bacheller & Co. deal chiefly in correspondence by leading journalists." From the spring of 1889 until late 1894, Bacheller continued to market illustrated fictions, but now the supply was somewhat more sporadic.14 In November 1894 he re-established his service that provided short stories and novelette installments six days a week, mostly by well-known authors, and advertised it as a "Six Day Serial Service." This was somewhat misleading, however, since Bacheller syndicated no full length serial novels from 1894 to 1898. In fact, out of a total of 92 fictions that Bacheller syndicated in 1895, only nine ran for the maximum limit of six installments.
To obtain the works of well-known authors that he very much needed, Bacheller relied heavily in the early years of his operation on personal visits to the authors. Bacheller wrote that one of the first things he did after becoming an independent syndicator was to visit John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Mark Twain at their homes to solicit material from them. Unfortunately, he recounted, "None of these great men would do business with me." As early as 1888, Bacheller was delegating much of this responsibility to his partner, James W. Johnson, who "was able to give me good help in the traveling and soliciting and on the task of finding the copy we required." After about 1890, Bacheller also entrusted some of the work of fiction procurement to his office manager, Arthur Stedman. In his capacity as Bacheller's representative, the well connected Stedman (son of the famous poet Edmund Clarence Stedman) visited and wrote to authors to ask for material. Edmund Clarence Stedman himself, in his informal position as a part-time editor for Bacheller, also steered a number of authors toward the syndicate.15
Of course, Bacheller also wrote to authors asking for contributions. He procured many works in this way from Oliver Howard, a retired Civil War officer, and in one instance he sent Brander Matthews an already-filled-out check along with the solicitation to tempt him to send a work of fiction to the syndicate. After about 1888, though, Bacheller came to rely increasingly on James W. Johnson and Arthur Stedman to undertake more of the correspondence with them.16
One way in which Bacheller tried to sidestep the difficult task of writing to and visiting authors to obtain their works was by sponsoring prize contests, whose benefits for him included publicity and hundreds of manuscripts to consider. After the winner and second place finisher had been paid extraordinarily large sums, Bacheller could contact some of the non-winning authors and ask them if they were willing to sell their work for much lower prices. In a few cases it is possible that Bacheller went so far as to rig these contests to maximize their value to him. For example, in one contest conducted between July 1886 and August 1887 for the best 3,000-word story, the winner of the $300 prize was F. R. Burton, for his story "Smith's Bell." As it turns out, however, Burton was an employee of Bacheller's, raising the suspicion one hundred years later that Bacheller reaped great publicity from the contest but never actually had to pay the prize. Bacheller sponsored another national contest in late 1894 for the best detective story; first prize was an exorbitant $2,000 and second prize was $500. Three thousand entries were received, and in the 29 June 1895 issue of the Critic magazine it was announced that "The Long Arm," a story co-written by Mary E. Wilkins and J. Edgar Chamberlin, editor of the Youth's Companion, had won the supposedly blindly judged contest. Of course it was not mentioned publicly that Bacheller and Arthur Stedman had actively solicited an entry from Wilkins and probably arranged her victory.17
Other conduits by which Bacheller tried to keep himself supplied with fiction were authors' literary agents and his own representative in Britain. Over the years Bacheller himself made a number of trips to Europe in search of material, but in general he relied on his personal representative in London, Arthur Waugh, whom he had engaged in 1887. Bacheller later remembered that Waugh, from the London office--maintained from 1887 until 1898--"sent us the first tales of W. W. Jacobs, Stanley Weyman and Anthony Hope and some by James Payn and George Gissing," all quite popular at the time. Waugh later remembered the time when "there arrived on a visit to London a mild, kindly cultivated American, named Irving Bacheller," who "got me to take him round town among the editors and the literary agents" and "left me established as his representative, with quite a respectable salary."18
Finally, all of these more regular sources of material were supplemented by unsolicited manuscripts. In addition to advertisements for prize contests and regular submissions, articles about Bacheller that included his address appeared in such magazines as the Journalist and Writer and made his syndicate increas ingly well known to aspiring fiction authors across the country. Partly as a result of such notices, after about 1890, Bacheller later recounted, a "great mass of manuscript was now arriving every day from all sides of the continent for our consideration," and in some ways the task of procuring an adequate supply of fiction had become easier.19
Armed with promises from authors and sometimes some form of written agreement with them, Bacheller next had to tackle the job of marketing his wares to newspaper editors across the country. His sales techniques clearly differentiated him from mainstream book and magazine publishers of the mid-1880s. A magazine or book editor would never have entertained the idea of calling on or writing to every potential customer, but this is precisely what Bacheller had to do.
Newspaper historian Sidney Kobre has written that in 1885 the newspaper market was extremely congenial to the syndication business, and John Young, a chronicler of early California journalism, also reported that "In the early nineties, the opportunity to secure matter from a syndicate was welcomed by the editor of The [San Francisco] Chronicle. Aspirants for literary fame were less common than they became later." In fact, however, Bacheller had to face numerous obstacles in selling his wares. The first was that newspaper editors often didn't have enough space available to include fiction. One editor, Milton McRae, later remembered that Bacheller, whom he called "a mighty lovable and always interesting chap," often "came to sell me something which I could not often buy," probably because of limited space. The second obstacle was the lax enforcement of copyright laws and the common practice called "exchange," whereby newspapers and magazines could reprint items from other periodicals for free, as long as proper credit was given. The difficulty this created for Bacheller is evident in one commentator's statement in 1887 that in the United States, "where the magazines play Lord Bountiful and throw open their treasure-houses to every [newspaper] editor who comes along, it is not easy even for so pushing a canvasser as the agent of a 'Syndicate' to persuade the proprietors of newspapers to pay for similar things to those which hitherto they have been able to get for nothing." Bacheller later accurately recounted that because of all these obstacles, "There was a steep grade in the way of the syndicate man those days."20 To sell his service, Bacheller had to make a variety of attractive promises to editors (such as exclusive use in a paper's circulation area and a wide choice of authors, genres, and lengths), aggressively market a better grade of fiction than was currently available through the "exchange" system or from other syndicates, and offer the fiction at low cost.
Two ways in which Bacheller conveyed his promises and made his service known to editors were through circulars directly mailed to newspaper editors and through advertisements placed in the Journalist magazine. In 1886 Bacheller printed a sample of his service on the reverse side of his letterhead stationery. An extant copy of one Bacheller circular from 1894 is fairly crudely printed, but it lists the contributing authors, the number of illustrations that would be provided, and the terms for purchase. Bacheller probably, however, found the efficacy of circulars alone rather minimal; as one Journalist article reported, typically "The editor receives the syndicate man's circular and promptly dumps it into the waste basket, and forgets all about it until he wants to buy syndicate matter." To complement such appeals, Bacheller thus often placed advertisements in trade magazines.21
Recognizing the minimal response these circulars and advertisements elicited from editors, Bacheller used a direct sales approach with syndicate material and traveled extensively to sell his wares in person to editors, making contacts that could later be maintained with circulars and letters. Bacheller wrote that twice a year he used his free railroad passes (as a member of the press) to take "many journeys up and down the continent. For making this I slept on Pullman cars; I climbed innumerable flights of stairs, late at night, to ratty editorial rooms in all the big cities. After fifteen years of it I estimated that I had traveled seven hundred miles up stairs and down in quest of managing editors." Just as he eventually hired others to help him procure fiction, he enlisted the help of his partner James W. Johnson in traveling to meet with editors, and by 1892 Bacheller employed a staff of traveling agents to relieve him of some of the burden of these sales trips. One such agent, John Young Taylor, traveled throughout the South, Midwest, and Upper Midwest in 1892 to sell the service. On 14 October 1892 he was in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and recorded in his diary, "Received a letter from the Bachellor [sic] Syndicate about selling Irving Bachellor's [sic] story The Unbidden Guest,' with a moral in something after Howell's [sic] style." In March 1898 Bacheller advised his new syndicate boss, John Brisben Walker, that the key to making a syndicate work was having "plenty of good men [traveling solicitors] for $40. or $50. a week and expenses on a commission of 10% on contracts. A good man will turn in from $500. to $1500. a week in new business." Bacheller further noted that the syndicate had a substantial supply of good fiction to sell, but "Without a solicitor... it wont [sic] help us much."22 Supply without demand, he understood, meant failure.
Some of the most important promises Bacheller and his agents made to editors, and some of the strongest selling points of his fiction, were the closely allied concepts of "originality" and "exclusivity." In a world increasingly filled with mass-manufactured and standardized goods, a product labeled "original" gained a certain added value and was much more in demand. Bacheller believed that if he handled syndicated fiction correctly, he could--without lying outright--succeed in giving readers the impression that it was original and exclusive, and thus of great value. To sell his service and aid editors in this mild deception, Bacheller guaranteed that the fiction he distributed--unlike exchange fiction clipped from other publications or reprinted patent inside and plate service fiction--would be purchased directly from the authors and be printed simultaneously in subscribing newspapers for the first time anywhere; thus, this mass-reproduced fiction could, by stretching the definition of "originality," fairly honestly be promoted as "original." Bacheller certainly did not mind that many editors printed fiction that he syndicated under headlines such as "The Observer's Original Stories" and "The Journal's Original Stories"; in fact, he very likely suggested doing so.
Editors were willing to pay a comparatively high price for the originality, exclusivity, and simultaneity of syndicated fiction not only because they believed these attributes would appeal to readers but also because fiction of this type gave them the right to crow about beating out the competitors and being the preeminent local paper; this, they hoped, would attract advertisers. Thus, one can fully understand that when editors believed that these promises were broken and that they had been deceived into buying a work previously printed or misrepresented, sparks flew. Bacheller was in fact once deceived by an author and as a result inadvertently misrepresented some fictions to editors as original; this most likely led at least one newspaper to cancel its contract with him. In 1887, author Lew Vanderpoole sold stories to Bacheller and others that he claimed were original manuscripts of George Sand, left to him in her will to sell posthumously for the estate. At the behest of editor Frank B. Smith of Cosmopolitan magazine, Vanderpoole was arrested in September for forgery, but not before Bacheller had sold some of these fraudulent works to a number of newspapers, including the Syracuse Herald. The Herald, which had regularly taken materials from Bacheller in early 1887, discontinued its association with him in June, probably because of Vanderpoole's forged stories.23
To make his service more appealing, Bacheller also promised editors a wide variety of choices as to authors, genres, and lengths. The majority of works he offered were by lesser-known authors, but he also knew that he frequently had to offer works by famous authors in order to sell his services; after all, the promise of works by these authors constituted one of the most significant differences between Bacheller's service and those of ready print and plate-service syndicates, which usually sold works by less popular authors or reprinted ones by popular authors. As Bacheller would later recall, "in the newspaper syndicate business we were in constant need of sky-rockets."24 In addition, while Bacheller tended to prefer local color fiction, he did not limit himself to stories of this genre, also distributing many romances, foreign adventure stories, and detective stories. Finally, Bacheller also appealed to editors (whose availability of space varied) by promising a wide range of lengths, from works consisting of only one installment (approximately 2,500 words) to those of six installments (approximately 15,000 words).
Bacheller further enticed editors with prices for original fiction by well known authors that in some cases were much lower than the $3-$ 10 usually paid by individual newspapers for original stories by unknown writers. In July 1885, for example, Bacheller offered his service to the Pittsburgh Chronicle for 50 cents per column (1,500 words) and $3 per week, and in 1890 the Chicago Daily News paid only $ 15 per week for the serial story service. In 1894, the few customers who took their material from Bacheller in stereotype plate form (most preferred galley-proof slips) still paid only 50 cents per column. Because the extant documents include only one Bacheller contract form, it is unknown if he acted as S. S. McClure did, varying the price at which each fiction was offered according to the length of the piece, the author's fame, and the circulation of the customer newspaper. What is known, though, is that Bacheller did not require editors to pay in advance or on delivery for these materials; they could pay at the end of each month if they wanted.25
Despite all of these travels and promises, however, Bacheller still found that few editors wished to enter into long-term contracts that might have reduced the traveling and marketing he had to do. Selling original fiction to newspapers, Bacheller had found out, was not as easy as it first looked.
Making Bacheller's task even more difficult was that his work did not end when he had purchased and sold these fictions; Bacheller--like book and magazine publishers--still had to process these materials. His methods of editing and illustrating were much like those used by most publishers, but those for printing and transmitting texts and illustrations to newspapers and magazines were quite different. During the first few years of his syndicate's operation, Bacheller appears to have personally edited almost all of the fiction, probably because he lacked the financial resources to hire trained help. From March 1887 until at least December 1891, however, B. B. Vallentine, one of the founding editors of Puck magazine, served as editor for the syndicate. In 1890 Bacheller attempted to hire Edmund Clarence Stedman as his full-time literary editor in New York. Stedman, however, preferred to maintain his distance and offer limited editorial advice on a part-time basis. Around this time, too, Bacheller had Arthur Stedman and his "able assistant" and partner James W. Johnson working for him, although how much these men were involved in editing remains uncertain. About 1894, Bacheller hired Charles Kelsey Gaines, a friend and St. Lawrence University professor, as an editorial assistant; another St. Lawrence graduate, Edward B. Lent, was Gaines's assistant.26
After editing authors' manuscripts or typescripts, Bacheller and his editors then had to put these into a form that could be sent to numerous subscribing newspapers. No samples of the copy Bacheller provided to newspapers in the early years are available, but it is quite possible that in 1884 he was the first to employ a printing method that other syndicates later copied. Instead of having someone write out multiple longhand copies of authors' texts or reproducing handwritten copies with the gelatin hectograph process for transmission to newspaper customers, Bacheller probably contracted with a single newspaper to typeset the author's revised manuscript and print multiple copies of galley proofs. One copy would typically be returned to the more famous authors for proof corrections (less famous authors probably did not have this privilege), and one copy was given to illustrators. Once the author's proof corrections were received at the syndicate office, the text would be corrected, and enough galley proof copies printed to send to all subscribing newspapers and to the Librarian of Congress for copyright registration. In return for performing this valuable service--and possibly for making stereotype plates for those few customers who preferred this form--the one newspaper would receive printing rights to this one fiction gratis.27
Until he left the Brooklyn Daily Times in early 1885, Bacheller might have had proofs printed there, but it is more likely that he sought out another New York City newspaper for this task. Between the fall of 1887 and 17 June 1888, Bacheller probably used his own short-lived newspaper, the New Yorker, to provide galley proofs. Beginning in 1889, Bacheller might have relied on his new "partner," the Kellogg patent inside and plate service firm, to print proofs and make stereotype plates in its New York offices. The problem of printing proofs was apparently solved in late 1894 or early 1895 when, as Bacheller recalled, "We enlarged our suite of rooms [in the Tribune Building] and had a capable office force, our own illustrators and photoengraving plant," and presumably printing facilities. Given such a plant, it is unlikely that Bacheller continued to farm out stereotype plate production or galley proof printing, as one scholar has claimed.28
While the author was revising proofs and his or her corrections were being set in type, the illustrators were hard at work. Bacheller very early recognized the value of illustrations in selling his fiction to newspaper editors, very few of whom until the 1890s could afford to employ their own illustrators. The first illustrated stories located that Bacheller sent out were Julian Hawthorne's "The Devil's Christmas" and Rose Terry Cooke's "A Gift of God," in December 1885. By November 1886, Bacheller material was usually accompanied by four small, unsigned illustrations for the text, with an occasional head illustration (most illustrations up to 1890 appear to have been line drawings). According to John Young Taylor, these illustrations were sent as electrotypes to editors. At least in the early years, Bacheller's illustrators were almost certainly free-lancers rather than regular employees. In 1888 a colleague listed the illustrators of Bacheller materials as Victorien Bribayedorf, Arthur Meyer, William Carroll, P. G. Cusachs, Will P. Hooper, M. Human, A. B. Shults, William H. Sprague, and Franck Verbeck, some of whom were well known and respected in the trade. In the years between Bacheller's agreement with the Kellogg company in 1889 and 1894, it is possible that usual practice was to give one copy of the proofs pulled in New York to Kellogg's illustrators in New York or Chicago. After the establishment of its own photoengraving plant in 1894 or 1895, however, the Bacheller firm had its own staff of illustrators in an art department under the direction of G. Y. Kauffman. From 1894 to late 1896, each installment of a short story or novelette was usually accompanied by one head illustration and two in the text; in fact, subscribers were guaranteed "that the matter furnished in any one week (six days) shall be accompanied by not less than twelve or more than fifteen illustrations." To keep up with the increasing size of illustrations in most newspapers, in late 1896 these syndicated illustrations went from one column in width to two, and in 1897 they occasionally spread across three columns.29
At the end of this long process of procurement, sales, and processing, the actual physical production of the printed texts was performed in newspaper offices from coast to coast. Stereotype plates could be altered only with much difficulty, but once the galley proofs arrived at these offices, editors could easily edit the texts as they wished before having the copy typeset and then printed; these practices of course produced a great number of textual variants. Long paragraphs were frequently shortened for hurried newspaper readers, slow-moving descriptive passages were deleted, and so forth. Editors could also choose whether to use the illustrations provided and how to lay the text out on the page, which created a variety of print contexts. For example, one Syracuse, New York, editor bracketed Stephen Crane's "One Dash-Horses" with advertisements for rye whisky, Bovinine, Pennyroyal pills, and Johann Hoffs Malt Extract, while in Utica, New York, the editor placed this story next to a humor column, Daily Hints for housekeepers, and an article denigrating Buddhist holy books.30


Over the course of its history, the Bacheller syndicate necessarily dealt with hundreds of fiction authors in the United States and Britain and made their original works of fiction available to millions of American readers. Thus, Bacheller's syndicate activities had a profound impact on the American literary marketplace. First, the syndicate served as an outlet that needed about one hundred manuscripts each year and paid generously for them, which made it a welcome source of income and national publicity for well-known and beginning authors who found very few openings available in magazines such as Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, Century, or Lippincott's. Author Julian Hawthorne was not alone in his conclusion in 1888 that "if our native authors are not to find an outlet in syndicates, the prospect for them is dark. The magazines are all overstocked, and no author can live on the royalties of his books."31
Overall, Bacheller and his syndicate greatly helped authors. Because of the advantages he offered, Bacheller could later recall that although a few well-known authors turned him down at first, in 1885 he "was favored ... by the kindly consideration of writers." Ladies' Home Journal editor Edward W. Bok may have decried the situation in 1895 where "the syndicate manager attracts by the larger sum which his numerous newspaper customers make it possible for him to pay, and the author falls into the temptations," but many authors welcomed the high spending syndicates as a new, potentially lucrative periodical outlet in its own right but which also drove up the competitive bidding among magazines for their works. Bacheller only slightly exaggerated when he recalled in a speech to the Robert Louis Stevenson Society in 1922, that "the time has come, chiefly owing to McClure's and, to my own humble efforts, when the rates paid for good fiction have far more than doubled. The time has come when a literary producer can hold up his head and ride in his own automobile and live even at Saranac [Lake, where Stevenson spent the winter of 1887-1888] and Lake Placid!" Furthermore, authors welcomed the vast amount of publicity they gained from syndicate publication. Referring to the publication of Mary E. Wilkins's "The Long Arm" through the Bacheller, Johnson, and Bacheller Syndicate in 1895, one writer opined, "Her latest effort has been more widely commented on than any previous production and will be as thoroughly read and appreciated as if it had appeared through the usual channels [books and magazines] for this author's stories."32
Bacheller and other syndicators also significantly affected the American literary marketplace and the evolution of the periodical industry by being the first to reach a truly national readership with fiction and by proving that there was in fact an audience for serious literary fiction outside the Boston-New York Philadelphia area. Millions of readers across the country in rural areas, small towns, and large cities benefited from Bacheller's innovative practices. By taking advantage of the multiple local and regional newspaper distribution systems that already existed and by placing fiction in affordable and accessible daily and Sunday newspapers, Bacheller reached a large and socioeconomically diverse national audience before the mass-market magazines did in the 1890s.
In 1886 Bacheller decried the lack of "an available and adequate medium between the author and the great majority which does not read expensive books and magazines" and opined that "If the great public can get hold of the wholesome productions of literary genius, it will thank God for deliverance from the reign of rot."33 He clearly tried to provide this medium with his syndicates. It is impossible, of course, to determine with any accuracy whether the "higher quality" fiction that Bacheller distributed "improved" (both highly subjective terms in themselves) the literary taste of a large segment of the American populace. One can hypothesize, however, that the favorable reaction of readers from all socioeconomic levels in America's cities and interior areas alike to syndicated works by Kipling, Crane, Freeman, Jewett, and others encouraged prospective mass-market magazine editors by proving that there was indeed a substantial national audience for works by this type of author. Suddenly, the Northeastern literary establishment had to include in its schemata the millions of native-born and immigrant readers who, despite their low levels of literacy, still wanted access to fiction by popular and critically approved authors. Knowledge of this market certainly led newspaper syndicator S. S. McClure to begin his mass-market magazine in 1893, and it probably inspired others to found magazines that were low-priced and directed toward a heterogeneous, national audience.


Given the impact and seeming success of Bacheller's syndicates, one must logically ask why Bacheller left the syndicate business in early 1898. Some of the reasons he did so were quite personal. Despite his success, for example, Bacheller remembered that he disliked being away so much on business, writing, "1 was not quite happy, for I was fond of my wife and home." More important, Bacheller turned his back on the syndicate business because he became increasingly distracted by his own literary aspirations. In 1889 he had begun asking for and receiving advice about his own poetry and fiction from literary critic and poet Edmund Clarence Stedman. Bacheller later remembered that when he had his first short story published in Cosmopolitan magazine in January 1897, "I longed then to be released from the cares of business."34 In 1898, Bacheller was able to escape from the syndicate business, and the fantastic popular success of his first novel, Eben Holden (1900), guaranteed that he would never return to it.
Also contributing to Bacheller's decision to leave the business, however, was its uncertain profitability. Bacheller, more a novelist than a businessman, frankly acknowledged that he had "no special talent for business." Hamlin Garland once "marveled at [Bacheller's] ability to sustain himself in the journalistic world--so much of the dreamer and poet he appeared. McClure belonged to the hustle of the New York newspaper office, but Irving Bacheller did not." More specifically, Bacheller's failed attempt at publishing a magazine entitled Youth and Home, plus some other poor investments, left Bacheller financially strapped in late 1897 and prompted him to sell out to Walker.35
Further reasons for Bacheller to leave the syndicate behind were the numerous new syndicates that were founded in the 1890s; Bacheller recalled that "McClure* s success and my own had convinced many clever newspaper men that a fortune could be made in the business" (the syndicates clearly were portrayed as much more profitable than they actually were). The greater number of syndicates and subsequently of mass-market magazines naturally increased the competition for authors among them, not only forcing syndicates such as Bacheller's to pay authors higher prices and thus accept reduced profits, but also allowing newspaper editors to remain for the most part free of long-term contracts. Rather than commit themselves to regular payments to one syndicate with a restricted choice of materials, editors preferred to pick and choose among the offerings of the various galley-proof syndicates. In August 1898, shortly after he had left the syndicate business for good, Bacheller indicated to one newspaper editor the main reason he believed he had failed: "Give me fifty big newspapers each paying a respectable space rate and I'll agree to outbid every magazine in the world for that [sic] I want and get it too."36 The result for Bacheller of few long-term contractual agreements was an extremely uncertain cash flow which made financial success very difficult to achieve.
Bacheller's newspaper syndicate activities, although brief in duration, constitute an important chapter in the history of American periodicals. Bacheller was by definition neither a publisher nor an agent, yet he caused hundreds of works of fiction by authors of all levels to reach millions of American newspaper readers before magazines such as Cosmopolitan, McClure's, Harper's, and Century would in the 1890s. What is especially interesting about Bacheller's syndicate is that the fiction it distributed was published in an unusual venue, the daily and weekly newspaper. Almost certainly, readers reacted to fictions in this context differently than they did to fictions published in popular monthly magazines and in book form. For these reasons, the story of Bacheller's newspaper syndicate activities deserves closer attention from anyone who wishes to understand how the literary market for periodical literature developed, what fictions millions of average Americans in cities and rural areas alike were reading in the late nineteenth century, and in what context they were reading such works.


Abbreviation Guide


B-StL                                  Irving Bacheller Papers, Special Collections, Owen D. Young Library, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York.

ECSP-Columbia              Edmund Clarence Stedman Papers, Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Butler Library, Columbia University, New York, New York.

MP-Lilly S.S.                     McClure Papers, The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

VLP-Newberry                 Victor Lawson Papers, The Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois.





1.Bacheller, From Stores of Memory (New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1938), 43.

2. Alfred McClung Lee, The Daily Newspaper in America: The Evolution of a Social Instrument (New York: Macmillan, 1937), 717.

3. Bacheller recalled that in 1885 some twenty newspapers took fiction from him (Coming Up the Road: Memories of a North Country Boyhood [Indianapolis: The Bobbs Merrill Co., 1928], 264), but in 1886 the reported number varied from 80 ("Bye-the-Bye," Journalist 2 October 1886: 9) to 140 (O. W. R., "The Newspaper Syndicate King," Journalist 31 July 1886: 3). Because of an 1889 agreement between Bacheller and the Ansel Nash Kellogg readyprint and plate service company, it is quite possible that Bacheller-syndicated works were also printed in thousands of country weekly papers. The assumption of two readers per copy can be found in S[imon] D[exter] North, History and Present Condition of the Newspaper and Periodical Press of the United States... (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1884), 78.

4. Charles E. Samuels, "Irving Bacheller's Pioneer Syndicate," Journalism Quarterly 34 (1957): 90-92; Elmo Scott Watson, A History of Newspaper Syndicates in the United States, 1865-1935 (Chicago: N.P., 1936), 43; Charles Johanningsmeier, "Buying and Selling Words by the Thousand: Newspaper Syndicates and the American Literary Marketplace, 1860-1900," diss., Indiana U, 1993.

5. R. W. Stallman and Lillian Gilkes write, "Bacheller's syndicate was not founded until late in 1894, though most likely it was in the planning stage much earlier" (Stephen Crane: Letters, ed. Stallman and Gilkes, with intro. by Stallman [New York: New York UP, 1960], 41n).

6. The University of Virginia Edition of the Works of Stephen Crane, 10 vols. (Charlottesville: The UP of Virginia, 1969-1976); Katz, "Bibliography and the Rise of American Realism," Studies in American Fiction 2 (1974): 85.

7. See for example the bibliography in Jean Holloway, Hamlin Garland. A Biography (Austin, TX: U of Texas P, 1960), 314-321; Donald Pizer, "Hamlin Garland: A Bibliography of Newspaper and Periodical Publications," Bulletin of Bibliography 22 (1957): 41 44; and James McG. Stewart, Rudyard Kipling: A Bibliographical Catalogue, ed. A. W. Yeats (Toronto: Dalhousie UP and U of Toronto P, 1959); Lund, America's Continuing Story: An Introduction to Serial Fiction, 1850-1900 (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1993), 114; Vann, Victorian Novels in Serial (New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 1985).

8. Hamlin Garland, Companions on the Trail. A Literary Chronicle (New York: Macmillan, 1931), 108.

9. For Bacheller's claims see marginal notes made by Bacheller in Cyril Clemens, letter to Irving Bacheller, [August 19^9]. B-StL; also see Coming Up the Road, 261; for colleague's statement, see W. E. S. Fales, letter, Journalist 15 September 1888: 9; Fales states that Bacheller established the American Bureau of Fiction in December 1883 (9); a contemporary article on Bacheller also says he began in 1883 (O. W. R., "The Newspaper Syndicate King": 3); Alfred McClung Lee cites the latter article in The Daily Newspaper in America: The Evolution of a Social Instrument, 584-585, and others since have cited Lee; Elmo Scott Watson claims that the syndicate was originally named the New York Press Syndicate (A History of Newspaper Syndicates 43); the year 1884 is proposed by Peter Lyon, Success Story: The Life and Times of S. S. McClure (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1963), 54; and V. V. McNitt states that Bacheller began in 1887 ("Sam McClure Started Something," Editor and Publisher 21 July 1934: 80).

10. Bacheller later wrote that he met Hatton in (he autumn of 1884 (see marginal notes, Cyril Clemens, letter to Irving Bacheller, [August 1939], B-StL), but this is clearly incorrect, given the dates of Henry Irving's first tour; Bacheller describes this attempt at syndicating in Coming Up the Road, 260; New York Ledger, weekly from 3 January 1885? 16 May 1885: different pages in each issue.

11. Definitively establishing the first fiction successfully syndicated by Bacheller is a difficult task. "Old Amazin' Grace" (Utica Daily Observer 29 November 1884: 3) is marked "[Original]" and thus appears much as other works copyrighted by Bacheller in the spring of 1885 do, but there is no definite proof that Bacheller syndicated this piece. Bacheller indicated in an interview many years later that his first big syndicated venture was a Christmas page for 1884 (Tom Means, "Lunch With a Cheerful Yankee," The Palm [March 1944]: 17), but I have been unable to find such a page (Bacheller might be referring to a collection of Bacheller-syndicated Christmas stories that appeared in many newspapers in December 1885). The first fiction positively identified as a Bacheller piece by virtue of an attached copyright notice of "Bacheller and Gunnison" is Julian Hawthorne, "Carlo Carrambo," Boston Globe 1 February 1885: 16 (Herbert F. Gunnison was a friend of Bacheller's from St. Lawrence University and in the newspaper business himself--for confirmation of his business relationship with Bacheller, see Raymond Gunnison, letter to Mr. [Owen D.] Young, 23 October 1931, Berg Collection, New York Public Library); quotation from Samuel D. Lee, letter to S. S. McClure, 23 May 1885, MP-Lilly.

12. For information on James W. Johnson, one of the most important partners, see "A Weil-Known Newspaper Man," Journalist 13 September 1890:2, and "James W. Johnson," Binghamton and Broome County, New York: A History (New York and Chicago: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1924), 239-240; the official incorporation agreement of the Bacheller Syndicate is dated 15 May 1896 and lists Isaac D. Marshall, Joseph Sawyer, Jr., Charles K. Gaines, and George H. Casamajor as the principal investors (B-StL), although Joseph Katz says the agreement was made on 14 May 1896 between Bacheller, Edward Marshall, Henry Grady, Jr., J. Herbert Ackerson, and Charles K. Gaines ("Bibliography and the Rise of American Realism: 87n), and a news note at the time lists "A. I. Bachellor [sic], I. D. Marshall, H. A. Grady and others of New York city [sic] as the "incorporators" {Newspaper Maker 21 May 1896:1). The date of the syndicate's sale to Walker is indicated in "Bachellor [sic] Syndicate Sold," Newspaper Maker 10 March 1898: 5; Bacheller's release is noted in From Stores of Memory, 160, and in Coming Up the Road, 299; Joseph Conrad was in communication with the Bacheller Syndicate as late as February 1898 (Conrad, letter to T. Fisher Unwin, 17 February 1898, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, 1898-1902, ed. Frederick R. Karl and Lawrence Davies, vol. 2 [Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986] 39); the last fiction identified that carries the International Literary and News Service copyright is L. Frank Baum, "Jack Burgitt's Honor," Chicago Tribune 27 November 1898: 52.

13. Darnton, "The Forgotten Middlemen of Literature," The Kiss of Lamourette: Reflections in Cultural History (New York and London: W. W. Norton and Co., 1990), 136-153; the basic syndicate plan is outlined by S. S. McClure in My Autobiography (1913; New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1914), 168.

14. The lower quality of the fiction Bacheller supplied at the time is indicated in a letter from Victor Lawson of the Chicago Daily News to Bacheller regarding some short stories Bacheller had sent: "on the whole, they will perhaps just pass muster" (19 April 1889, VLP Newberry); at the same time, Lawson in 1890 accepted Bacheller's offer of a Frank Stockton story entitled "The Three Burglars" (see Lawson to Bacheller, 11 January 1890, VLP-Newberry), and published a Bacheller-supplied story by Marion Harland ("Mr. Wayt's Wife's Sister," Chicago Daily News 30 July-9 August 1890). A search of the Chicago Daily News during these years reveals only an occasional short story accompanied by a Bacheller copyright.

15. Coming Up the Road, 264 and 266; for Arthur Stedman's contact with Mary E. Wilkins, see Mary E. Wilkins, letters to Arthur Stedman, 12 February 1894 and 22 December 1895, letters 145 and 190 of The Infant Sphinx: Collected Letters of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman (Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow P, 1985), 161-162 and 183-184; E. C. Stedman's duties are seen in Irving Bacheller, letter to [Edmund Clarence] Stedman, 16 August 1895, ECSP-Columbia.

16. See the numerous letters from Bacheller to Oliver Howard, Special Collections, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine; Brander Matthews, letter to Irving Bacheller, 30 October 1894, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California; a letter of solicitation from either Bacheller or Johnson is implied in Mary E. Wilkins, letter to Arthur Stedman, 21 October 1894, letter 161 of The Infant Sphinx, 168; another such letter from Bacheller, this time to Mark Twain, is noted in Mark Twain's Notebooks and Journals, ed. Frederick Anderson, vol. 3 (Berkeley: U of California P, 1979), 264n; see, too, Joseph Conrad, letter to T. Fisher Unwin, 17 February 1898, The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, vol. 2, 39-40.

17. Announcements regarding the contest won by Burton can be found in "Bye-the Bye," Journalist 10 July 1886: 8; and "News and Notes," Writer (NY) 1.5 (August 1887): 100; Burton's status as a Bacheller employee is seen in F. R. Burton, letter, Journalist 6 August 1887: 9 (Burton was probably an employee during the prize contest and previous to the date of this letter); details of Bacheller's 1894 contest were reported in "Miss Wilkins a Prize-Winner in Bacheller Syndicate's Competition," Critic 29 June 1895: 483; see also an advertisement for the contest published in the Utica [New York] Observer 29 April 1895: 7; Brent L. Kendrick describes Wilkins's involvement in this contest in The Infant Sphinx, 120-121, and there are numerous letters from 1895 in this volume regarding "The Long Arm"; for evidence of Bacheller conducting at least one other prize contest, see "Bye the-Bye," Journalist 12 June 1886: 8.

18. Bacheller appears to have visited Britain on business before 1887, according to a letter from Bacheller to the authors, quoted in Laura Stedman and George M. Gould, Life and Letters of Edmund Clarence Stedman, vol. 2 (New York: Moffat, Yard and Co., 1910), 374; Bacheller later wrote that "often my errands called me to France and England" (From Stores of Memory, 95); quotation from Coming Up the Road, 265; Arthur Waugh, One Man's Road: Being a Picture of Life in a Passing Generation (London: Chapman and Hall, 1931), 229-230.

19. Bacheller's address was noted in William H. Hills, "The Stranger in New York," Writer (NY) 2 (1888): 5, and implied in numerous Journalist items; Coming Up the Road, 266.

20. Sidney Kobre, Development of American Journalism (Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Co., 1969), 514-515; John F. Young, Journalism in California (San Francisco: Chronicle Publishing Co., 1915), 154; Milton McRae, Forty Years in Newspaperdom. The Autobiography of a Newspaper Man (New York: Brentano's, 1924), 87; William H. Rideing, "Boston Letter," Critic 8 (1887): 6; From Stores of Memory, 44.

21. Bacheller's practice of using both sides of the stationery is indicated in a letter to Colonel Cockerill, 19 January 1886, New York World Collection, Special Collections, Butler Library, Columbia U; Bacheller circular in Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage, ed. Joseph Katz (1894; Gainesville, Florida: Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints, 1967), 20-21; "Bye-the-Bye" Journalist 24 October 1891: 8; one example of a Bacheller advertisement is found in Journalist 14 December 1889: inside cover.

22. For frequency of travel, see Coming Up the Road 265; quotation from Irving Bacheller, "The Rungs in My Literary Ladder," American Magazine 85 (1918): 19; Bacheller later listed the duration of his travels as twelve years, which was inaccurate (From Stores of Memory, 44); Johnson's travels are implied in "A Well-Known Newspaper Man," Journalist: 2; "my travelling agents" are noted in Irving Bacheller, letter to [Edmund Clarence] Stedman, 10 April 1893, ECSP-Columbia; John Young Taylor Diary, The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera, Winterthur Library, Winterthur, DE; Irving Bacheller, letter to John Brisben Walker, 14 March 1898, Special Collections and Manuscripts, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young U, Provo, Utah.

23. For details of the Vanderpoole scandal and his arrest in September 1887, see "Literary Forgery," Syracuse Herald 25 September 1887: 4; "Disclosure and Disgrace," Journalist 24 September 1887: 12; "Literary and Trade Notes," Publishers Weekly 24 September 1887: 316; and "The Sinfulness of Plagiarism," Journalist 22 October 1887: 8; Vanderpoole's response is noted in Lew Vanderpoole, letter, Journalist 5 November 1887: 3.

24. Coming Up the Road, 292.

25. Bacheller prices in Robert H. Campe, letter to S. S. McClure, 30 July 1885, MP Lilly, and Victor Lawson, letter to Irving Bacheller, 8 March 1890, VLP-Newberry; for 1894 Bacheller price and payment plan see Circular, Katz, Red Badge of Courage, 20-21.

26. Vallentine's association with Bacheller is indicated in Classified advertisement, Journalist 26 March 1887:15, and in Irving Bacheller, letter to O.O. Howard, 21 December 1891, Special Collections, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine; for Bacheller's attempt to hire Stedman, see Irving Bacheller, letter to [Edmund Clarence] Stedman, 4 September 1890, ECSP-Columbia; for quotation regarding Johnson, see Coming Up the Road, 275; Gaines's employment is indicated in Coming Up the Road, 304.

27. Bacheller's practice of allowing authors to revise proofs is evident in Mary E. Wilkins, letter to Arthur Stedman, 16 June [18]95, letter 170 of The Infant Sphinx 173-174. Joseph Katz writes that the first copyright recorded by Bacheller and Co. at the Library of Congress is dated 1885 in the name of A. I. Bacheller of Brooklyn, for a story entitled "Termine, 'Was It a Ghost?'" which probably refers to a story by Mary Virginia Terhune [Marion Harland] ("Bibliography and the Rise of American Literary Realism" 87n). Fixing the precise point in the production process at which galley proofs were submitted to the Librarian of Congress for copyright registration must await further comparison of the slips on record with the projected publication date.

28. Elmo Scott Watson writes that Bacheller supplied all his early features in proof sheets or copy form (43); one report suggests that Bacheller used a "copyist" to make multiple copies, but the author's contradictory language makes it impossible to conclu sively establish that Bacheller sent out longhand copies ("Bye-the-Bye," Journalist 2 October 1886:9); Joseph Katz calls the New York Press"lhe syndicate's home newspaper" at one time (The Red Badge of Courage, 24), but it was not in operation until 1887; Bacheller probably did not care much about the quality of the New Yorker printing, since he published it chiefly as a source of galley-proofs and for more convenient copyrighting (its low quality of materials and typography is indicated in "Bye-the-Bye," Journalist 29 October 1887: 8); in 1895 the A. N. Kellogg Co. had a New York office in the Tribune Building where Bacheller's office was also located (Lyman Morse, Advertiser's Handy Guide. 1895 [New York: Lyman D. Morse, 1895], inside cover); quotation from Coming Up the Road, 266; Bacheller's employment of printers is also evident in Irving Bacheller, letter to [Edmund Clarence] Stedman, 23 April 1895, ECSP-Columbia. One textual editor has asserted that the western sketches of Stephen Crane, syndicated by Bacheller in 1895, were typeset at the office of the Nebraska State Journal in Lincoln, and that these proofs were sent directly to subscribing newspapers without Bacheller having the chance to review or correct them, but given Bacheller's ownership of printing facilities in 1895, this seems unlikely (Fredson Bowers, ed., Stephen Crane: Tales, Sketches, and Reports, with introduction by Edwin H. Cady, vol. 8 [Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1973], 795, 884, and 887).

29. Both of these stories were published in the Syracuse Daily Journal 24 December 1885: page 2 of special holiday supplement; see John Young Taylor Diary, Winterthur Library; illustrators listed in Fales 9; Kauffman's position is indicated in G. Y. Kauffman, letter to B. M. Kip, 10 September 1896, B-StL (in this same letter he writes, "We require very simple pen drawings clear sharp lines, original figure work is most desirable"); quotation from Bacheller, Johnson, and Bacheller circular, reprinted in Joseph Katz, The Red Badge of Courage, 20-21.

30. See "One Dash-Horses," Syracuse Daily Journal 4 January 1896: 3; and also in Utica Observer 4 January 1896: 7.

31. Hawthorne, "Syndicate Matters," Journalist 14 July 1888: 4.

32. Bacheller, From Stores of Memory, 44; Bok, "The Modern Literary King," Forum 20 (1895): 341; Bacheller, Stevenson Society Address, B-StL; "Literature in Newspapers," Newspaper Maker 29 August 1895: 7.

33. Bacheller, "The Syndicate Matter," Journalist 17 April 1886: 3.

34. Bacheller, From Stores of Memory, 95; Bacheller, Coming Up the Road, 283; the short story was "A Passion Study," Cosmopolitan 22 (January 1897): 319-320. As Bacheller also later noted, "I knew then [after this story was published] that as a business man I was doomed" ("The Rungs in My Literary Ladder": 79).

35. Coming Up the Road, 95; Hamlin Garland, Roadside Memories (New York: Macmillan, 1930), 344; Bacheller's involvement with Youth and Home is indicated in a number of undated letters from Bacheller to Albert Bigelow Paine in the Henry E. Huntington Library.

36. Coming Up the Road, 291; Irving Bacheller, letter to [Edward Henry] Clement, 13 August 1898, James T. Williams Papers, Special Collections Library, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Works Cited

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-- From Stores of Memory. New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1938.

-- "A Passion Study." Cosmopolitan 22 (January 1897): 319-320.

-- "The Rungs in My Literary Ladder." American Magazine 85 (April 1918): 19.

-- 'The Syndicate Matter." Journalist 17 April 1886: 3.

Bacheller Prize Contest Advertisement. Utica [New York] Observer 29 April 1895: 7.

Bacheller Syndicate Advertisement. Journalist 14 December 1889: inside cover.

"Bachellor [sic] Syndicate Incorporated." Newspaper Maker 10 March 1898: 5.

"Bachellor [sic] Syndicate Sold." Newspaper Maker 10 March 1898: 5.

Baum, L. Frank. "Jack Burgitt's Honor." Chicago Tribune 27 November 1898: 52.

Bok, Edward W. "The Modern Literary King." Forum 20 (1895): 341.

Bowers, Fredson. General Editor. The University of Virginia Edition of the Works of Stephen Crane. 10 vols. Charlottesville: The UP of Virginia, 1969-1976.

-- Editor. Stephen Crane: Tales, Sketches, and Reports. Vol. 8. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1973.

Burton, F. R. Letter. Journalist 6 August 1887: 9.

"Bye-the-Bye." Journalist 12 June 1886:8; 10 July 1886:8; 2 October 1886:9; 29 October 1887: 8; and 24 October 1891: 8.

Classified Advertisement for B. B. Vallentine Position. Journalist 26 March 1887: 15.

Conrad, Joseph. The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad, 1898-1902. Ed. Frederick R. Karl and Lawrence Davies. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986.

Cooke, Rose Terry. "A Gift of God." Syracuse Daily Journal 24 December 1885: page 2 of special holiday supplement.

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-- The Red Badge of Courage. Ed. Joseph Katz. 1894; Gainesville, Florida: Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints, 1967.

Darnton, Robert. "The Forgotten Middlemen of Literature." The Kiss of Lamourette: Reflections in Cultural History. New York and London: W. W. Norton and Co., 1990. 136-153.

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Freeman, Mary E. Wilkins. The Infant Sphinx: Collected Letters of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. Ed. Brent L. Kendrick. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow P, 1985.

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Hawthorne, Julian. "Carlo Carrambo." Boston Globe 1 February 1885: 16.

-- "The Devil's Christmas." Syracuse Daily Journal 24 December 1885: page 2 of special holiday supplement.

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