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History of Junior Elf

In 1868, William Rand and Andrew McNally established Rand McNally & Co. Rand McNally's first road map, the New Automobile Road Map of New York City & Vicinity, was published in 1904. The company continued to expand its book publishing business with best-selling children's books such as The Real Mother Goose (1916) and Kon-Tiki (1950). The children's book line was launched as an outgrowth of Rand McNally's early trade and educational publishing. Their books include works by such award-winning authors and illustrators as Marguerite Henry, Tasha Tudor, and Victor Ambrus.

With a string of acquisitions and growth throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Rand McNally employed over 4,000 people. The company had been majority-owned by the McNally family since 1899, but by 1997 the family had decided to divest its interest in the company.

The Rand McNally famous children's books known as the Elf Books were published from 1947 to 1986. The entire line of Elf Books was sold to MacMillan Publishing in 1986. At the time of the sale, Edward P. Evans, chairman and chief executive officer of Macmillan, said, "The acquisition complements our existing juvenile trade lines, while enabling Macmillan to move aggressively into mass merchandising and expand its character licensing operations."

Four years later, in 1990, Macmillan Publishing Company, then a division of Maxwell Communication Corporation and one of the world's leading professional publishing and information businesses, decided to withdraw from the consumer and mass market business. Macmillan sold its Checkerboard Press division to ia new company called Checkerboard Press Inc. formed by management.

In 2008, Checkerboard Press awarded the exclusive worldwide rights to all the Junior Elf books and Rand McNally Children's books to the Toon Studio of Beverly Hills. Since the first publication of the Junior Elf books, over one hundred million books have been sold, making Junior Elf a beloved brand and cherished name in the world of children's publishing.



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