A. J. Cook And His Manual

After the founding of the American Bee Journal, interest in bees developed very rapidly. Given a means of communication, the numbers grew and there was great demand for hives and other equipment as well as books. In the seventies, A. J. Cook, professor of entomology at the Michigan Agricultural College, established a course in beekeeping and conducted some experiments in bee culture which attracted wide interest among the beekeepers. In 1876 he gathered his course of lectures on bee culture into a substantial volume and published them as a

Manual of the Apiary. More than 2,000 copies were sold the first year, and in less than two years a second edition was published.

The book was popular for a number of years and ran through nineteen editions, the last of which was published in 1910. Cook was a leader in his day, but did nothing original to give him a place among the immortals. Alas, how few there are who are destined to make fundamental discoveries!

The King Text Book

There appears to have been three of the Kings, known as N. H. King, H. A. King, and A. J. King. Apparently, they were closely associated in the business of the sale of supplies and the publication of books and magazines. The following is quoted from the Beekeeper's Textbook by A. J. King, published in 1878, indicating that they enjoyed a substantial and prosperous business for the time:

The Beekeepers Journal commenced in 1868, with a circulation of 2,000 copies, at one time ran up to near thirty thousand. Hints to Beekeepers ran up to thirty thousand copies, and of the old Beekeeper's Text Book up to the present time there has been sold about fifty-one thousand copies.


Early editions bear the names of N. H. and H. A. King as authors, with A. J. King appearing as author of later revised editions. H. A. King retired from beekeeping in 1875 to enter the ministry.

In spite of the very large sale of the King books, very few copies are now available and they are seldom mentioned except in some historical connection.

Alley's Handy Book

It was in 1883 that Henry Alley, of Wenham, Massachusetts, published his Beekeeper's Handy Book, or Twenty-two Years Experience in Queen Rearing. Alley had developed a new system of queen rearing by cutting strips of fresh comb containing eggs, as explained in the chapter devoted to that subject. He was a step in advance of his time and his book made a definite contribution to the development of the industry. However, Doolittle was soon to offer something so much better that Alley's popularity was short-lived. Alley also published several other pamphlets, The National Beekeepers' Directory with essays on management of the apiary, Thirty Years Among the Bees, Sue-cessful Methods of Rearing Queen Bees, and last, Improved Queen Rearing. Although his last book was issued in 1903, about fourteen years after Doolittle had published his method of dipping cell cups, Alley still clung to the use of his strips of comb with every alternate egg destroyed. It is interesting to note that at least one commercial queen breeder, J. L. Strong, of Clarinda, Iowa, continued to follow the Alley plan to the end of his career, about 1915.

The Harbison Books

The Harbisons were brothers who lived in western Pennsylvania. They were sons of a man who was an extensive beekeeper for the time. Prior to the, invention of movable combs the business of honey production was primitive and uncertain. Both of these men were authors of bee books, but neither achieved a large sale. Bees and Beekeeping was the title of the book by W. C. Harbison, published in 1860 by a New York publishing house. J. S. Harbison's Bee-Keepers' Directory appeared a year later at San Francisco. Apparently neither was ever reprinted and copies are now rare. Both devote some space to the shipping of bees to California, an enterprise in which both were interested, and the books are of special interest now because of this historical material.

Other Early Works On Bees

A large number of pamphlets hardly worthy to be called books appeared in the years when beekeeping was in its infancy. Many of these were largely reprints of the work of previous writers.

Among those worthy of mention may be noted Kidder's Guide to Apiarian Science, published at Burlington, Vermont, in 1858. It is of interest because the author's portrait appears on the cover with a cluster of bees in the form of a beard. This stunt has been capitalized by later beekeepers, notably Jay Smith in his queen advertisements.

Dr. J. H. P. Brown, of Augusta, Georgia, was a pioneer writer on beekeeping in the Southeast. His Beekeeping for Beginners appeared in 1898. It hardly can be called an early book, yet Brown was writing for the bee magazines in 1880, and was prominent for a long period as a contributor.

The Blessed Bees, by John Allen, the pen name of Oscar Clute, came out in 1878. A fanciful story, it attracted wide notice. Nature's Bee Book, 1867, was by W. A. Flanders. Heddon's Success in Bee Culture, written in 1885, attained a considerable measure of success for a brief time. In 1851 the Sunday School Union published a book entitled The Hive and Its Wonders. H. M. Johnson was the author of The Farmer's Guide to Beekeeping in 1872.