Western Publishing

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Western Publishing, also known as Western Printing and Lithographing Company was a Racine, Wisconsin firm responsible for publishing the Little Golden Books. Western Publishing also produced children's books and family-related entertainment products as Golden Books Family Entertainment.[1] The company was based in Racine with editorial offices in New York City and Los Angeles, California.



The company was founded by brothers Edward Henry and Albert H. Wadewitz who bought West Side Printing Company in September 1907 for $2,504 and changed its name in 1910. In 1915, the company acquired Chicago publisher Hammerung-Whitman Publishing Co., which became its subsidiary, Whitman Publishing Company. Another subsidiary was K.K. Publications, named after Kay Kamen, manager of character merchandising at Walt Disney Studios from 1933 to 1949.[2] K.K. Publications became defunct during the mid/late 1960s.

By the late 1970s, Western was one of the largest commercial printers in the USA. It had four manufacturing plants and two distribution centers from Kansas to Maryland. It boasted of installing some of the first heatset web offset printing presses in the US as well has having the largest offset sheetfed presses, some exceeding 78" printing in five colors, and one of the largest bindery operations in the USA. Among other things, it printed mass paperback books under contract, was the primary manufacturer and distributor of the board games Trivial Pursuit and Pictionary, plus other table-top games. It developed and printed specialty cookbooks, premiums and collateral for many Fortune 500 clients. At one time, Western printed almost everything from "business cards to billboards", and employed over 2500 full time people. Most of their printing plants were closed and print operations consolidated to Racine by the mid 1990s.

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