Bruccoli Clark Layman


Bruccoli Clark Layman (BCL) produces reference works in literary and social history. The company was founded in 1962 by Matthew J. Bruccoli, an author and professor of English, and C. E. Frazer Clark, Jr., a marketing executive, to publish limited editions of literary works. In 1975, Frederick Ruffner, president of Gale Research, Inc., invited Bruccoli and Clark to develop a series of reference books in literary biography. The next year Bruccoli Clark, Inc., was incorporated and commenced production of the Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB). Richard Layman was the first employee.

Bruccoli Clark (BC) grew steadily over the next decade and a half. In 1983 Clark went into semi- retirement, and the company name was changed to Bruccoli Clark Layman. By that time, the company employed some twenty editors, proofreaders, researchers, and typesetters and was well established as a producer of camera-ready copy for reference works, with a reputation for editorial excellence; the staff doubled over the next decade.  In 1987, Bruccoli and Layman formed Manly, Inc., to research and develop new projects. BCL and Manly are closely associated. BCL typically produces projects Manly develops. With the formation of Manly, the editorial scope of BCL broadened to include social history. Clark retired in June 1994 and died in 2001; Bruccoli died in 2008.

From the beginning the company has maintained its commitment to high editorial standards. BCL develops projects through the stage of camera-ready copy and forms co-publishing partnerships with publishers who have the resources to manufacture, promote, and sell its books. BCL edits, typesets, proofreads, and designs all of its books in order to extend editorial control as far as possible into the publishing process.


Typically a BCL project is developed from inception in-house. BCL in-house editors locate specialist volume editors who are not on BCL’s staff and work with them to refine the rationale for a volume and to enlist contributing writers. When typescripts are submitted to BCL, the in-house volume editor begins a process of editorial scrutiny that lasts an average of three months. The editor checks every checkable fact and line-edits copy. Revisions and queries are submitted to the contributor or the outside editor for response, and when the typescript is in satisfactory form, proofs are prepared either by in-house typesetting or by alteration of electronic data submitted by the contributor. Proofreading and copyediting are meticulous processes at BCL. When type is set in-house, a word-for-word read is the first of four complete readings by different in-house proofreaders and copy editors. Most BCL books are illustrated, and the in-house photo department has built an archive of illustrations in literary and social history comprising some 400,000 images.

The core of BCL is the editorial department. Editors are responsible for assuring the editorial integrity of every book produced at BCL. They ensure accuracy, clarity, and adherence to the editorial rationale for each book they supervise. Full-time library researchers assist the editors in their work.

Since 1976 BCL has produced some 400 reference books comprising some 50 million words. Publishers associated with BCL and Manly have included Gale Research, the primary publisher of BCL books from the beginning; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; Facts On File; Omnigraphics; and Chadwyck-Healey. For Gale BCL produces the Dictionary of Literary Biography, a history of literature in all languages from antiquity to present told through the biographies of writers. From 1978 to 1989 BC and then BCL provided an imprint list for publication by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (HBJ). Volumes under the HBJ/BC imprint included, among other books, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Price Was High and Vladimir Nabokov’s Lectures on Literature, Lectures on Russian Literature, and Selected Letters; Manly produced New Black Mask Quarterly (8 volumes) and A Matter of Crime (4 volumes) for Harvest, the HBJ trade-paperback imprint. In a joint venture with Facts On File, BCL and Manly produced the ten-volume Encyclopedia of American Business History and Biography, the four-volume Bibliography of American Fiction, a one-volume Dictionary of American Literary Characters, and a two-volume Dictionary of British Literary Characters, among other works. For Gale, in 1993 and 1994 BCL and Manly produced a three-volume biographical history of the Cold War; a series in cultural history, Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Culture; and a nine- volume social history of the United States in the twentieth century, American Decades. Manly served as planning consultant to Chadwyck-Healey for an electronic database of American poetry before 1920, including the complete poetic works of some 300 poets, and as editorial manager for ProQuest’s Schomburg Studies in Black Culture.

Tradition of Quality

The second book Bruccoli Clark published, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 2: American Writers since World War II, was named an Outstanding Reference Book of the Year by Choice. The DLB is now recognized as the most authoritative source of its kind and the most ambitious literary reference work in the history of American reference publishing. Other volumes produced by BCL and Manly that have been named to either the Choice or Library Journal lists of outstanding reference works of the year include The Cold War (1993) The Value of a Dollar (1994), American Decades: 1950-1959 (1995), and American Eras (1998).


Matthew J. Bruccoli, (1931-2008), President
Bruccoli did his undergraduate work at Yale University and earned his MA and PhD in English at the University of Virginia. He was the Jefferies Professor of English at the University of South Carolina. A bibliographer and biographer, he wrote standard books on F. Scott Fitzgerald.

C. E. Frazer Clark, Jr., (1925-2001), Vice President
Clark did his undergraduate work at Kenyon College and earned his MA in English at Wayne State University. He was the leading collector of Nathaniel Hawthorne and wrote the standard Hawthorne bibliography.

Richard Layman, President
Layman did his undergraduate work at Indiana University; he earned his MA in English at the University of Louisville and his PhD in English at the University of South Carolina. He has written books on subjects in American literature, notably Dashiell Hammett.

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