Noonday Press

Wikipedia: N/A

Charles A. Madison, BOOK PUBLISHING IN AMERICA 555-556 (1966):

In 1954 Arthur A. Cohen became one of the first to publish quality paperbacks ranging in price from $1 to $1.95. Still in his twenties, he in October 1951 formed Noonday Press in partnership with Cecil Hemley. Three years later he started Meridian Books with the aim of bringing out paperbacks of leading works in religion, philosophy, and literature. Among his early publications were books by Jacques Maritain, Jacob Burckhardt, Eric Bentley, E.M. Forster, Irving Babbitt, Herbert Read, Joseph Schumpeter, and J.M. Keynes. In 1956 Noonday Press and Meridian Books were separated, with Hemley in control of the first and Cohen of the second.

Charles A. Madison, BOOK PUBLISHING IN AMERICA 530 (1966):

In 1960 [Farrar, Strauss and Cudahy] added to its already large backlist the books of Noonday Press, both clothbound and paperbacks.


Farrar Straus’s second venture in this field did not last either, but it was even more distinguished. In 1960, the company bought Noonday Press, Inc., as a wholly owned subsidiary, with 60 active backlist and current titles. Noonday had been founded in 1951 by Arthur Cohen, philosopher and critic, and Cecil Hemley, a novelist and poet, as one of the first higher priced quality paperback houses. Hemley and Cohen intended their house to operate much as a university press would, and although it never issued many more than a dozen titles a year, the books were of the highest literary quality--indeed, some said, too intellectual for the general market and certainly not mass market items. Undisturbed, the partners launched Meridian Press in 1955, a series of trade paperback titles of similar quality. A year later, they had parted, with Cohen becoming president of a new firm, Meridian Books, and Hemley remaining as director of Noonday. Not long after the merger with Farrar, Straus, Hemley left to join the Ohio University Press. He died in 1966.20 The Meridian imprint ceased to appear in the seventies.

Isaac Bashevis Singer explains how FSG treated him much better than Noonday, which went out of business.

High-quality scans of some of the first Noonday Meridian titles: