Thursday, August 1, 2013

Rex Ryan/R.R. Ryan

Kudos to researcher and fellow archivist, Andrew Parry, for discovering more Rex Ryan novels, which he revealed on the excellent Vault of Evil site.  Andrew made the link between the publisher of Noel Despard’s Tyranny of Virtue, Nicholas F. Willis, and the Anglo-Eastern Publishing Co, both of which advertised at the same address.  Anglo-Eastern is one of the more obscure publishers of the first half of the twentieth century; as far as I know only Professor John Arnold of Monash University has done any extensive research about it and the related Camden Publishing Company – see here. 

 There appear to have been three phases to the life of the Anglo-Eastern Publishing Company:

1.   From its founding in about 1910 to the death of William Nicholas Willis Snr in 1922, when the company was run from 48-50 Waterloo Rd, London.

2.    From 1922-1932 when William Nicholas Willis Jnr evidently took over the reins and published only intermittently.  The address of the firm varies between 48-50 Waterloo Rd, 48-50 Waterloo Bridge Rd, and 50 Waterloo Bridge Rd.

3.     From 1932, when the original Anglo-Eastern Publishing Co went into receivership, and a new publishing firm with the same name was formed, which acquired the stock, copyrights, stereotypes and printers’ moulds of books of the earlier company.  According to a 1932 issue of The Publisher, “The Anglo-Eastern Publishing Co (1932) Ltd, of 15 Cecil Court, W.C. 2, have taken over the business of the company of the same name formerly of Waterloo Rd, SE 1, and are issuing new editions of their ‘Bree Narran’ and other well-known fiction.  While it advertised an extensive stock, it’s not clear how much of it was actually published.

 Andrew Parry found an extensive catalogue at the back of one of the 1932 reissues which included two Rex Ryan titles as well as Noel Despard’s Tyranny of Virtue.  The Rex Ryan titles are Midnight Love and Crooked Love. 

 John Arnold has sent me a working checklist of Anglo-Eastern/Camden titles drawn mostly from a similar catalogue of Anglo-Eastern titles at the back of a copy of Crisp Stories, published by Camden.  While there was no Rex Ryan titles in this catalogue, John did find an advertisement for Rex Ryan's Midnight Love at the back of another copy of Crisp Stories.

In addition, a full catalogue of Anglo-Eastern Publishing Company publications, which dates to early 1927, includes both Rex Ryan's Midnight Love and Noel Despard's Tyranny of Virtue. They are numbered 85 and 87 in the catalogue, out of a total of 87 titles. 

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