What a story!
Way back in the early 1940s, book publisher Albert Boni, co-founder of the Modern Library publishing company, established the Readex Microprint Corporation in New York City and Chester, Vermont.
Boni’s purpose: Create surrogates of American historical documents, first to ensure their preservation, and second to enable wide access to the raw materials that document the American journey.
A decade later, in 1955, the American Antiquarian Society invited Readex to publish in microprint form Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800. Suddenly the near-entire corpus of the earliest American books could be accessed in libraries across the United States and the world.
Over the years more books would be discovered and added to the “Evans” collection—a quest that continues even today.
The success of this partnership led to the microform publication of Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819, and Early American Newspapers , Series 1, 1690-1876.