12 December-Peter Fenelon Collier of Co Carlow

Peter Fenelon Collier who was a native of Co Carlow, Ireland was the founder of the publishing company P.F Collier & Son in the United States of America. He emigrated to the United States with his family in 1866 when he was 17 years old. His company, which published books, magazines and encyclopediae, became one of the most successful in its time in the United States.

Peter Fenelon Collier was born in Myshall Co Carlow in 1849. He received his initial education in Carlow. Following arrival in America the Collier family settled in Dayton Ohio. Peter attended St Mary’s Roman Catholic Seminary in Cincinnati for four years with the intention of becoming a priest. He left the seminary in 1880 and began working as a salesman for the school book publisher Sadler and Company. Collier relocated to New York in 1874 and with the $300 he had saved established his own publishing company.

At first Collier’s company printed books for the Roman Catholic market. These included a biography of Pope Pius IX which he published in 1874. His firm began the practice of selling books on the basis that customers could purchase them by paying in monthly instalments. He went on to publish several editions of the Bible and books such as Chamber’s Encyclopedia and Collier’s Encyclopedia of Social and Commercial Information. His company became very successful achieving huge sales in The US and Canada. He also founded a magazine called Colliers Weekly which became one of the largest selling magazines in the United States. Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) was one of his employees and Colliers published some of Twain’s books.

By the early 1900’s book sales at P.F Collier & Son had exceeded 52 million and the company was continuing to thrive. Peter Collier enjoyed horse riding and hunting and was a member of several riding clubs. He was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree in 1908 from Seton Hall University, New Jersey, the oldest diocesan university in the United States. On April 23rd 1909 he died suddenly of a stroke at the age of 59.

Peter Fenelon Collier, founder of publishers P.F Collier & Son in the US, was born in Myshall Co Carlow, Ireland in the year 1849 On This Day.

Collier’s illustrated weekly. Woman’s number, New York, November 15th, 1902. by Boston Public Library on 2013-09-03 13:52:07

Image from page 291 of “Collier’s new encyclopedia : a loose-leaf and self-revising reference work … with 515 illustrations and ninety-six maps” (1921) by Internet Archive Book Images on 1921-01-01 00:00:00 

Myshall photo

Church of Ireland Adelaide Memorial Church of Christ the Redeemer in Myshall Co Carlow Ireland is a miniature of Salisbury Cathedral

A Mini Salzburg Cathedral by IrishFireside on 2007-06-19 15:24:59

Photo by IrishFireside

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