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Guy Holt (1892-1934) was an editor and publisher who, in his early years, helped launch the careers of writers such as James Branch Cabell and Robert Nathan. He worked for several companies including James M. McBride, John Day (which he co-founded), and Whittlesey House at McGraw-Hill. Holt is best remembered for his impact on the career of James Branch Cabell, whose books he helped publish at James M. McBride. Holt played an important role in the 1920 censorship case against Cabell’s Jurgen, the 1919 novel that created a sensation when it was accused of being “offensive, lewd, lascivious and indecent” by John Sumner of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, who wanted the book legally censored. Holt was the manager at McBride and was named in the case. After two years, McBride finally won the case. Holt compiled a book of documents about the case, Jurgen and the Law (1923) and a bibliography of Cabell (1924). The Jurgen trial was in the news off and on over the years of the bookshop’s operation; during that time Merle de Vore Johnson compiled another Cabell bibliography, which was published by Frank Shay at the shop in 1921. Holt died of a heart attack at 42 after contracting dysentery at the Chicago World’s Fair.
The front cover and opening pages of Guy Holt's Bibliography of James Branch Cabell (1924)