Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Published and Republished

Pioneer Jews: A New Life in the Far West By Harriet & Fred Rochlin
Harriet Rochlin

 Early in 1980, Fred & I were in Boston, he to attend an architectural conference, I, to visit Robie Macauley, then an esteemed editor at Houghton Mifflin. In the late 1970s, I attended his week-long seminar on fiction. He deemed my first novel saleable, and my published articles on Jewish pioneering in the West intriguing. 
Upon arrival, Robie handed me a small publisher’s proposal for a book on the Jews of Arizona, to be written by my husband, an Arizonan. A year later, Houghton Mifflin embarked on the production of a region-wide social history on Jewish pioneering in the West. My husband and I were named co-authors, I, in charge of the text, he, of the photographs. 

  Create a full-length social history in two years for a prestigious publisher? Atremble, I hired two assistants to scour Los Angeles archives for Jewish pioneers. Two months later, I added six skilled researchers in other Western states. Robie, my editor, evaluated every word I wrote. 

 In 1984, the publishers introduced Pioneer Jews with a handsome hard cover edition of 15,000 words, priced at $17.95.  As positive responses from reviewers mounted, sales grew. Interest confirmed, Houghton Mifflin released 11 more editions in trade paper, totaling 47,492 copies. Then in December, 2010, they returned the rights to the authors. 

In May, 2012, I learned that the Authors Guild was accepting its members’ out-of-print books for republication. I’d been a member since 1984 when Houghton Mifflin released PJs. So I emailed Muse Ossé, Authors Guild,, to apprise him of my interest in republication. I received two pages of requirements. PJs met them all.  On July, 23, 2012, I submitted a 10-page application along with four official documents verifying me as the sole owner of the manuscript.  

My author’s copy of the republished Pioneer Jews arrived on February 3, 2014. My first impression was that the republished cover was an appealing bright yellow, but the large photograph of Charles Strauss, Mayor of Tucson, 1883, and, his son, Charles, Junior, is hazy. As I thumbed through the scanned book, my spirits rose. Most of the photographs were as sharply rendered as in the original.

Also included in the 2014 Authors Guild edition were new items I’d written. (1) A newly completed list of 64 updated photo courtesy lines. (2) Evidence that the near-nude photograph of a woman on page 172 was not, as I had long-reported, Josephine Marcus Earp. (3) Two new pages of excellent reviews. 

Pioneer Jews is available at, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound,
Born and raised in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, Harriet Rochlin attended schools with a wide ethnic and racial mix--Jews, Mexicans, Japanese, also some Russians, Greeks, Armenians, Italians, as well as a smattering of American Blacks and Anglos. In 1965, as the ethnic history movement grew, someone asked Harriet what she knew about Jews in the early West. "Nothing," was her response. In the next 30 years, she published 18 articles on the subject, delivered 152 speeches and co-produced the landmark illustrated social history, Pioneer Jews: A New Life in the Far West.

1 comment:

Arletta Dawdy said...

Dear Harriet,
You are a true pioneer in producing this wonderful book. I'm very happy that it has been re-issued.
Congratulations, Arletta