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   Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
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Profile Last Updated: 10/13/2003  

Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
100 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY United States

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[E] webmaster@abramsbooks.com

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Harry N. Abrams, Inc., now celebrating its 50th anniversary, is the preeminent American publisher of high-quality art and illustrated books. Founded by Harry N. Abrams in 1949, the company was the first in this country to specialize in the creation and distribution of art books.

Prior to the establishment of Abrams, nearly all important art books were imported from Europe. Abrams art books established a completely new market in the U.S. Soon after, Abrams publications also appeared in Europe, translated into many languages. Within a few years, millions of copies had been sold on both continents.

In 1953, Harry N. Abrams, B.V., was established as a subsidiary in Holland to expedite the growing European sales of such Abrams series as the Library of Great Painters and the Pocket Library of Great Art. Other series to be sold on both sides of the Atlantic soon followed, including the Library of Great Museums and the Library of Modern Masters.

In 1959, Abrams was asked by Prentice Hall to develop art history textbooks to be sold to the educational market by Prentice Hall and to other markets by Abrams. The first major cooperative venture was H.W. Janson's HISTORY OF ART. Janson's book was to become a leader in its field. To date nearly four million copies are in print and it has been translated into 14 foreign languages. More than 20 important textbooks have been published by Abrams and Prentice Hall since their relationship began.

In 1959, Abrams also established an Abradale imprint under which certain illustrated titles other than art books would be published. More recently, the Abradale imprint has been used for inexpensive reprints of popular Abrams titles in all categories. Of particular note in the Abradale line are the best-selling MEDICINE: An Illustrated History and JACQUES COUSTEAU: The Ocean World.

The 1960s brought more expansion and new developments. Harry Abrams, keenly interested in contemporary American artists (e.g., Robert Motherwell, Barnett Newman, and Morris Louis), began to publish monographs about their work as well as limited editions of their lithographs. In 1964, an Abrams office was opened in Tokyo to utilize the new and growing resource of high-quality book production in Japan. New activity and expansion created demands for additional capital. The company's search for a solution to its financial needs led to acquisition by Times Mirror in early 1966.

Harry Abrams remained as head of the company. The numbers of titles published yearly increased considerably and the scope of publication widened, including more popular titles in the fields of art as well as other kinds of illustrated books. Among the more successful new projects were NORMAN ROCKWELL: Artist and Illustrator (1970) and the books published with Walt Disney. The first in this group was THE ART OF WALT DISNEY (1973), which sold 50,000 copies within its first year. Other successful Disney titles were to follow.

During its years as part of Times Mirror, Abrams developed a number of books with other Times Mirror companies, including The Los Angeles Times, GOLF Magazine, SKI Magazine, The Sporting News, and Newsday.

In 1977, the company published GNOMES, which became the first Abrams title to appear on the New York Times bestseller list for many months and led to a new field of product licensing and calendar publishing.

Also in 1977, Harry Abrams retired from the firm that still bears his name. The presidency of the company went for a brief time to Paul Anbinder, who was succeeded as President by Andrew Stewart until 1980, when he was succeeded as President by Paul Gottlieb. Mr. Gottlieb continued as President and Chief Executive Officer, while also serving as Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

Over the years, Abrams has collaborated with a number of leading museums throughout the world. In 1987, Abrams became the exclusive worldwide distributor of all exhibition catalogues and related titles published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Subsequently, Abrams became the distributor of exhibition catalogues and collection-based books for The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1990); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1991); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1994); the Royal Academy of Art, London (2000), and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (starting Spring 2001).

Abrams has ongoing relationships with many other cultural institutions such as the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The British Museum, the Tate Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, the R

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