or, perhaps Olive the Woolly Blogger...

Books are in my blood

I’ve been on a bit of a history kick lately as I’ve poured over old family photos from generations ago.  A few months ago I wrote about my great, great grandfather Paul Edward Werner, who founded what was at the time the largest publishing company in the world (before he lost everything and left future generations of Werners to find their own way in life). My great grandfather, Edward Paul Werner, grew up to run the family business in Akron, Ohio, and after the collapse of the Werner Printing and Lithograph empire, Ed Werner (“Pop” as he was known to family) continued to work in the printing industry.

Edward P. Werner

The collection of old family photos also included some newspaper clippings, one of which in particular I found very interesting. The article below is from the Beacon Journal, dated June 14. 1959. It announced that “Pop” was being honored as “Mr. Printer” by the Akron Club of Printing House Craftsmen. At the time my great grandfather was 83 years old and had been retired from the printing business since 1941.  He lived to the ripe old age of 96 and enjoyed a life of excellent health, right up until the end when he died peacefully in his sleep.  I had the pleasure of meeting Pop in 1967. I was a wee lad of 4-1/2 years when our family took a trip to Akron, and I remember him being a kind, fun man who was full of vitality. Of course, he was only 91 at the time so it only stands to reason!

The article points out that the Werner Printing and Lithograph Company printed state law books, catalogues and did some commercial printing.  I know for a fact that the company also printed a set of leather-bound encyclopedias because I have a few volumes, sitting in a box somewhere, slowly decaying (the price to restore them was cost-prohibitive the last time I checked). The article also mentions that in 1900:

Arthur J. Saalfield came to Akron and became manager of the company’s trade book department. Eight years later, Saalfield bought the department and moved it into a plant in South Akron, where it grew over the years into the Saalfield Publishing Company, the largest publisher of children’s books in the world.

So it would seem that the book business is in my blood. I can only hope that in another 100 years people will remember Olive the Woolly Bugger. And I’ve heard it said that an artist is never famous until after their death. Well, I hope I live as long as my great grandfather, which means I won’t be famous for another 47 years.



  1. wenda

    You can put them in acid free archival storage boxes that will help preserve them for future generations that may be able to restore them. There are sites on the web that offer them or Crate and Barrel has some I think. Wenda

  2. Joseph

    I have a 1909 Werner encyclopedia I tryed looking everywhere for information on the encyclopedias I have but nothing comes up.o can send pictures if you need them but it says Werner encyclopedia Akron Ohio 1909 but says nothing of Britannica thank you for any help on my quest

    • Kirk Werner

      The books would not say “Britannica” as that is/was a trademark of Encyclopedia Britannica. I have an old set of the Werner Encyclopedia’s (in very rough shape) also dated 1909, printed in Akron. The title is simply, Werner Encyclopedia. What sort of information are you looking for?
      Have you contacted the Summit County historical Society of Akron?

  3. Joseph

    The Werner encyclopedias are a revised edition of the Britannica 9th I believe along with there company I have looked the record of the encyclopedias as far as calling the Akron university and hall of records and and every antique book collector.I believe they don’t have Britannica cause they were made by saalfield company that was working with Werner at the time.I believe Werner tryed to publish the systematic reading to the Britannica by James Baldwin with the company printed in 1903.with I have a copy of too but it only says Werner so I believe Werner encyclopedias were going to half of the universal encyclopedia and half of the Britannica to make the Americanised edition of ythe Britannica but that’s when Britannica was coming out with the 11 the so Britannica but but hurt and put a stop to Werner and saalfield and court said they couldn’t ael any more of there copy’s since they bought the rights all of a sudden that Werner has his encyclopedia that is even better the Britannica’s.there’s no record of these encyclopedias ever being published by the company I am looking into saalfield as of now I will keep you updated than you for hearing me out

  4. Joseph

    Sorry for the typing errors my tablet no good 🙂 if you could email a picture of your encyclopedias to see if one of them match mine I would appreciate it Bennettsgodschild@gmail.com

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