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Albert Boni (1892-1981) was the elder brother of Charles Boni; the biographies of these two door-signers are closely entwined. Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Albert attended Cornell and Harvard, and left school early to enter the book business. He and his brother co-founded the Washington Square Bookshop in 1913. The bookshop was just next door to the Liberal Club, and became a center for Bohemian activities in the Village; among other things, the shop published Alred Kreymborg’s little magazine The Glebe. A committed socialist, Albert fostered the growing socialist movement in the Village at the time. In 1915, the brothers sold the shop to Frank Shay in order to go into publishing. In 1917, Albert joined Horace Liveright to form the publishing firm of Boni and Liveright, which went on to become one of the most important publishers of major modernist and socialist writers alike. With Thomas Seltzer, they created the Modern Library series, which still exists today. After a few years in business, the co-founders decided to split after disagreements about the firm’s direction, and Liveright famously won it in a coin toss. In 1923, Albert joined with his brother Charles to form the publishing firm of Albert & Charles Boni, which also published many significant modern writers and remained in business until 1939. In 1928 they undertook an experiment called Charles Boni Paper Books, a paperback book club by mail subscription. Unfortunately, the stock market crash in 1929 hindered their effort, and the experiment failed after just a few years. Later in life, Boni became very interested in reading technology and founded the Readex Microprint Corporation.
The cover and selected pages of an extra-illustrated copy of Homer Croy's The Lady from Colorado (New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pierce, 1957)
This edition, inscribed from Croy to his old friends Albert and Nell Boni, is peppered with Croy's humorous insertions.