John de Graff is publisher by special appointment (his own) to all sailors

April 29, 1968
April 29, 1968

Table of Contents
April 29, 1968

Two Seconds
Service Football
Racing To Indy
Horse Racing
Two Lives In One
  • Although Zane Grey accomplished more than most men, his years passed too quickly. As it was, he lived two full lives—one for his writing and one for his fishing—and he was extraordinarily successful at both. For years the sale of his books was surpassed only by the Holy Bible and McGuffey Readers, and his earnings allowed him to fish the waters of the world, where he set many records. Today, almost 30 years after his death at age 67, his books still sell and two of his fishing records have never been beaten

Baseball's Week
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

John de Graff is publisher by special appointment (his own) to all sailors

By Hugh D. Whall

Stealing a line from the arch and glamorous ladies on television who announce, "If I can sew, you can sew," Mary Blewitt begins her book on navigation with the statement, "I do not understand trigonometry, and for that reason there will be no mention here of sines or cosines." Since most authors of so-called books for beginners on navigation, a subject largely rooted in trigonometry, seem more eager to display their knowledge of the occult and the mysterious than to disclaim it, Miss Blewitt's approach to the study in Celestial Navigation for Yachtsmen ($4.95) is radical indeed. The fact that it lives up to its promise is doubtless why John de Graff of Tuckahoe, N.Y. chose to revive this book published in England 18 years ago and reprint it for American readers.

This is an article from the April 29, 1968 issue

Truly a book, as its author says, "written for beginners by a beginner," Miss Blewitt's volume manages to explain the inexplicable in less than 100 pages and thus to give the most timid yachtsman courage to plunge into a subject he might otherwise avoid. As such, it is a logical addition to the De Graff collection, which includes reprints on all manner of seagoing subjects from treatises on the merchant marine to a manual for crewing on small racing boats.

Although he publishes about two original books each year, most of the De Graff output consists of reprints from overseas. No other publisher in this country can match in variety the books he offers to sailormen. In addition to his publishing house, he runs an operation called Sailing Books Service that can procure virtually any book on the sea by any publisher. Not long ago, one regular De Graff customer remembered a book on commercial fishing schooners and urged De Graff to seek it out. The publisher finally unearthed a dog-eared copy at the commercial fishing exhibition at Expo '67, decided to republish it himself and, at latest count, has sold 1,000 copies.

Many of De Graff's customers make special trips to his publishing house in Tuckahoe to pore over the stock on hand, suggest new titles or just chew the rag. Says De Graff, "They come by plane, by train, by ship and by car—just to buy a book or two. I don't understand it."

He probably does understand it though, for John de Graff talks sailors' language and that may be why they buy his books. He doesn't own a boat himself, however, and doesn't intend to get one. That way he keeps out of arguments with his customers.

"Sailors," says John de Graff, "have damned strong opinions, you know."