It all began with a mimeograph machine. In August 1939, an enterprising young man named Manuel Barron opened Barron's Textbook Exchange, a used-book store located near the Brooklyn College campus. When local students began asking for review materials, particularly anything on the New York State Regents exams, Barron obtained recent tests from New York State and, after the store closed for the day, began making mimeograph copies. Business was brisk enough that Barron often found himself running off copies until 2 a.m. In 1941, the after-hours mimeograph business became Barron's Publishing, and its first offering was the aptly named series Barron's Regents Exams and Answers.
Seventy years later, the series is still going strong, albeit with some innovations—apps, e-books, and a subscription-based Web site—that could never have been imagined in 1941. "I'm truly honored that my name has been associated with bringing so much knowledge and entertainment to so many generations of students and readers," says Barron, who, it should be noted, still comes into the office every day.
To celebrate its 70th, Barron's will be giving the first 1,000 visitors to its booth (3538–3539) a bright orange "70th Anniversary" tote bag and will be showcasing books for movie buffs, young readers, and horse lovers. Film historian Cindy De La Hoz's new biography, Marilyn Monroe: The Personal Archives (Aug.), is supplemented with 170 photos and 20 rare "pull-out" facsimile documents, which include the actress's personal script for the film Niagara, a handwritten note from Monroe to Joe DiMaggio, and the divorce certificate that ended the star's marriage to the legendary Joltin' Joe. Updated to include the best films from the first decade of the 21st century, Steven Jay Schneider's 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, Updated Edition (Sept.), is packed with all the details movie lovers want to know about the world's greatest film classics—from D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation to 2010 Oscar winner The King's Speech.
Timed to coincide with the December 2011 release of the latest Shrek spin-off movie, Stella Gurney's Puss in Boots (Oct.) showcases color illustrations from Gerald Kelley that are enhanced with special features: a wheel that can set a water mill in action, a miniature booklet recounting the legend of the shape-shifting ogre, and a final pop-up illustration that shows the wedding celebration. Peter Chrisp's Explore Titanic: The Most Famous Ship in History—As Never Seen Before (Oct.) is geared for readers ages eight and up and features twelve 3-D-rendered graphics including images of the first-class dining room, the second-class promenade deck, and the grand staircase flooding as the ship sinks. From the ancient world to the modern day, Tamsin Pickeral's The Majesty of the Horse: An Illustrated History includes color photos by distinguished equine photographer Astrid Harrisson complemented by reproductions of equine artworks from around the world. It's a long way from those mimeographed sheets.