Skip to content

American publisher The Dial Press made an important contribution to 20th century literature and continues to operate today as an imprint of Penguin Randon House. The publishing industry is fast moving and volatile: There are frequent new start-ups, buy-outs, insolvencies and rebranding, such that it is something of an achievement for The Dial Press name to have survived for almost 100 years.

1923: The Dial Press was founded by Lincoln MacVeagh (1890-1972) who had previously been a director of Henry Holt & Company, also a New York publisher. A multi talented man, MacVeagh was at different periods of his life an American soldier, a diplomat serving as the American Ambassador to Spain, Greece, Portugal, Yugoslavia, Iceland and South Africa, and an archaeologist, businessman and publisher.

The Dial Press logo

1923: The Dial Press shared a building in New York with The Dial (1840-1929), a literary magazine edited from 1920-1926 by Scofield Thayer (1889-1982), a poet, publisher and art collector. Although wealthy, and at the time a part owner of The Dial (magazine), Thayer had a torturous life - afflicted by periods of mental illness. He was a paranoid schizophrenic. In addition to his roles with The Dial (magazine), Thayer also worked with Lincoln MacVeagh on The Dial Press.

1924: The Dial Press published their first books which included:

  • Stories from The Dial
  • Richard Allington's Literary Studies and Reviews
  • Roy Campbell's The Flaming Terrapin
  • Roosevelt's Letters From Theodore Roosevelt to Anna Roosevelt Cowles, 1870-1928

1933: Founder Lincoln MacVeagh left The Dial Press.

1961: The Dial Press for young readers was established. Early publications included:

  • Leonard Everett Fisher's Pushers, Spads, Jennies and Jets: A Book of Airplanes
  • Leonard Everett Fisher's Pumpers, Boilers, Hooks and Ladders: A Book of Fire Engines

1963: Dell Publishing, publishers of books, magazines and comics, took a 60% stake in The Dial Press - which remained independent.

1969: The Dial Press became wholly owned by Dell Publishing.

1976: Dell Publishing was bought out by Doubleday and the imprint Dial Press (for young readers) was sold to another American publisher, E.P. Dutton.

1985: Doubleday dissolved The Dial Press (books for adults).

1985: New American Library bought out E.P. Dutton, thus taking control of the Dial Press (for young readers).

1987: New American Library acquired by Penguin Publishing Company.

1999: Random House brought The Dial Press (books for adults) imprint back to life.

2013: Merger of Penguin and Random House bringing The Dial Press and Dial Press (for young readers) back under the same umbrella.

2020: The Dial Press continues to be an imprint of Penguin Random House. Based at 1745 Broadway, New York, The Dial Press specialises in "Emotionally effective works of memoir, narrative non-fiction, and fiction which tell stories of self-revelation".