A Sensational Job: Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, J.B. Lippincott Co., and Commission Printing.

January 25 2019
April 19 2019
2019 New Scholars Panel Presentation by Lucas Dietrich (Lesley University). Dietrich examines María Amparo Ruiz de Burton’s 1872 book "Who Would Have Thought It?", the earliest known novel by a Mexican American author in English, which was published by J.B. Lippincott & Co., one of the largest U.S. book distributors of the mid-nineteenth century. Referring to J.B. Lippincott & Co. business records and correspondence, donated to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 2002 and yet largely unexplored by scholars, I reconstruct the production, sale, and distribution of this early work of Mexican American fiction. I show that Ruiz de Burton paid J.B. Lippincott & Co. to produce and distribute her book for a commission, as job printers, even while the book itself was published anonymously and designed to look like any other sensational novel within the Lippincott catalog. Based on this evidence, Dietrich argues that Ruiz de Burton used Lippincott’s job printing department to establish a Mexican American literary voice that was distributed throughout the nation covertly, in the form of an anonymous sensation novel. More broadly, I consider the potential for bibliographical scholarship to recover such histories, tracking how marginal figures such as Ruiz de Burton have taken part in book production.
Bibliographical Society of America (published by)
Lucas Dietrich (created by)
Dietrich, Lucas. "A Sensational Job: Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, J.B. Lippincott Co., and Commission Printing." YouTube. Bibliographical Society of America, April 19, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fb6sfXdUyR8.