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The New York Times, November 1, 1893

Reason for the Sale of C. L. Webster & Co.'s Subscription Book Department

Charles L. Webster & Co. have sold the entire subscription book department of their business as booksellers and publishers.

There is no reason given for their action except for the desire of one of the partners in the firm - Samuel L. Clemens - to retire from business.

The best part of their subscription book department consisted of the "Library of American Literature," compiled and edited by Edmund Clarence Stedman and Ellen Mackay Hutchinson. The value of this work was estimated last March at $250,000.

The buyer is William Evarts Benjamin. The price paid is not known, but it is rumored that the sum was not half of the estimated value.

Mr. Benjamin will enter the field of subscription books this Fall with the "Library of American Literature," and an edition limited to 250 copies of a work on the "Continent of America," in which John Boyd Thacher, already the theme of much adverse criticism for his system of awards at the Chicago Fair, defends with an imposing array of documents the right of Americus Vespucius to have named the new world discovered by Christopher Columbus.

Mr. Benjamin declares that nothing as important has occurred in many years as, in the book publishers' world, his purchase of the "Library of American Literature," in the domain of Americana students his purchase of John Boyd Thacher's work, and in the world of the bibliophiles his discovery of a book on the topography of Rome, dated 1588, and having on its title page the autograph of John Milton. The latter book was a neglected volume of the Sears Library, which is representative of books and their history since the time when pages were printed on one side only, from blocks carved in naive outlines.

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