Amy (Root) Clements

Professor, editor, writer. Advocate of words that rise above the roar.


Launched in 1915, the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house quickly established a reputation for excellence. My book captures the little-known early history of the firm, from acquisitions to graphic design, retail sales, direct marketing, and advertising, during a vibrant era for those aspects of book publishing. Long before the dawn of digital, founders Blanche Wolf Knopf and Alfred Abraham Knopf crafted a brand strategy that has endured well into the 21st century.

Published by the University of Massachusetts Press, The Art of Prestige is also available through your bookseller.

Above: 36 Bedford Square, home of Alfred A. Knopf's short-lived London branch

Image of Russian wolfhounds, the mark of Alfred A. Knopf’s Borzoi Books, by Jagodka Photography

"This is the first book-length scholarly study of Knopf, and it provides an excellent account of the early development of a firm that is widely regarded as one of the finest and most significant American publishers."―Gordon Neavill, Wayne State University

Research for this project drew heavily on the Knopf archives at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin and at the New York Public Library. I also spent a summer examining several hundred early Knopf volumes in the Tanselle Collection of American Imprints at Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.