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Our History

Scholastic staff with M.R. Robinson, 1940: John Jamieson, librarian; Ernestine Taggard, literary editor; Gladys Schmitt, associate editor.

The Scholastic Story Begins

The Scholastic Story Begins


The Magazine That Started It All

The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic was published by Maurice R. "Robbie" Robinson on October 22, 1920, marking the beginning of the company that would become Scholastic. The four-page first edition grew to cover high school sports and activities for 50 Pennsylvania high schools. Within two years, the publication became a 24-page national biweekly, The Scholastic, covering national and world affairs, sports, literature, and the arts. Currently there are more than 30 classroom magazine titles in circulation, reaching more than 25 million students nationwide and covering a variety of topics for students from pre-K through high school.


Opening for Business in Pennsylvania

Scholastic's original office was the sewing room on the second floor of M.R. Robinson’s parents’ home in Wilkinsburg, PA, five miles outside Pittsburgh. Scholastic now has domestic offices in Danbury, CT; Secaucus, NJ; Lake Mary, FL, Jefferson City and Neosho, MO, with its global headquarters in New York City at 557 Broadway.


The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are Founded

In 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards were founded in connection with The Scholastic magazine. While the program began as an opportunity for young writers, it expanded in 1927  to also recognize teen artists. Famous alumni of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards include Truman Capote, Joyce Carol Oates, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, Ken Burns, Stephen King, Kay WalkingStick, John Updike, Mozelle Thompson, Zac Posen, and Andy Warhol.


Publishing our First Book

In 1926, Scholastic published its first book, a collection of student writing from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards called Saplings.


A Thanksgiving Tradition Begins at NCTE

A dinner hosted by M.R. Robinson at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention honored teachers, and remains a tradition continued by Chairman and CEO Richard Robinson today.

Top Left: Maurice Robinson, the founder of Scholastic. Bottom Left: The Robinson’s Pennsylvania home where Scholastic’s first office was located. Right: The very first issue of The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic.
Left: Scholastic’s earliest foray into book publishing, Saplings, signaled a new direction for the company. Middle: Scholastic’s premier classroom magazine was eventually shortened to The Scholastic. Right: The early days of Scholastic’s Art & Writing Awards.

Scholastic Becomes an International Company

Scholastic Goes Global


Introducing Scholastic Book Clubs

In 1948, a partnership with Pocket Books helped Scholastic revolutionize access to books and bring reading to the masses. Teen Age Book Club (T.A.B.) specialized in books for children ages 13 to 18. Students could rip out the form on the last page of a classroom magazine and submit their order through their teacher. Today, nearly 5 million students across the country order from Scholastic Book Clubs through 800,000 educators.


Launching our International Business

In 1957, Scholastic Canada is established as the company’s first international subsidiary. Scholastic currently has a significant presence in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, China, India, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.

Left: The first TAB catalog that marked the start of Scholastic’s Book Clubs division. Right: A news article reports on Scholastic’s expansion overseas. 

Clifford and Dick Robinson Emerge at Scholastic

The Next Generation of Leadership


Entering the Education Business

In 1961, Scholastic launched the Education division with World Affair Multi-Texts, a series of paperbacks on world history. Today, Scholastic Education provides teachers, families, and communities with the tools they need to support each and every child with print and digital learning programs for pre-K to 12th grade, expert professional development, family and community engagement, and learning supports.


The Big Red Icon is Born!

In 1963, Norman Bridwell created what would become one of America’s oldest and most beloved children’s characters: Clifford the Big Red Dog®. There are currently more than 134 million Clifford books in print, which are published in 19 languages, and distributed worldwide. Clifford’s stories have expanded to include two animated television series, video games, and mobile apps.


Breaking Ground in Jefferson City, Missouri

Scholastic built its first national distribution center in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1968. A second warehouse was purchased in Neosho, Missouri in 1998. Scholastic is currently one of the major employers in the region.


Richard Robinson Becomes President

After 10 years with the company, initially starting as Assistant Editor of Literary Cavalcade and rising to the position of Publisher of the School Division, Richard Robinson was elected President of Scholastic. One year later, he was elected CEO. 

Top: The early days of Scholastic Education. Bottom Left: The first installment in Norman Bridwell’s iconic Clifford series. Bottom Right: The man himself, Norman Bridwell. 
Top: Scholastic’s distribution center in Jefferson City, Missouri. Bottom: Two generations of Scholastic’s leadership, Richard and Maurice Robinson.

Icons Become a Part of the Scholastic Family

An Era of Expansion


Growing our School Distribution Business

In 1981, Scholastic launched its in-school book fairs business with the purchase of a California book fair. Scholastic Book Fairs currently host more than 120,000 book sale events in partnership with schools across the country, giving more than 35 million students and their families’ access to thousands of affordable books and educational products.


The Baby-sitters Club Series Takes off

Kristy’s Great Idea, the first in Ann M. Martin’s The Baby-sitters Club series, was published in 1986. The series went on to become one of the most successful in publishing history with more than 176 million books in print. The Baby-sitters Club would also inspire four additional related series, approximately 250 titles, two television series and a feature film... and prompted kids around the world to start their own baby-sitting clubs.

All Aboard the Magic School Bus!

The Magic School Bus series launched in 1986, with multiple television series and video games to follow. With more than 90 million books in print, The Magic School Bus series has received some of the most prestigious children’s awards including the NEA Foundation Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education, and a Parent’s Choice Award, and has been named both School Library Journal and Parents’ Magazine Best Books of the Year, among other honors.


Scholastic Professional Publishing Provides Resources to Teachers

In 1989, Scholastic Professional Publishing was developed to create high-quality resources for teachers. Today, Scholastic Professional supports educators by offering professional services, books, and curricular resources from leading experts in K–12 education. It provides a comprehensive, research-based approach to professional development that expands our understanding of language, literacy, and learning as it elevates instruction—preparing students for a lifetime of success.


Beloved Series Debut Throughout the 1990s

The 1990s saw the introduction of some of our most iconic series and characters, including I SPY (1992), Goosebumps® (1992), Animorphs (1996), and Captain Underpants (1997).


Scholastic Acquires Weston Woods Studio

In 1996, Scholastic acquired Weston Woods Studio, a production company that turns books into audio and video animation. It was originally founded in 1953 by Morton Schindel. Headquartered in Norwalk, CT, Weston Woods provides materials to more than 50,000 schools and libraries nationwide and has distributors in more than 20 countries around the world.


Harry Potter Revolutionizes Reading

In 1998, Scholastic published Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first in J.K. Rowling’s seven-book series. Loved by fans around the world, the series has sold more than 500 million copies, been translated into over 80 different languages, and made into eight blockbuster films.

Top: A Scholastic Book Fairs delivery truck. Bottom: Students enjoy a Scholastic Book Fair at their school. 
The 1980s and 1990s saw the introduction of a number of much-loved Scholastic series such as Captain Underpants, The Baby-sitters Club, The Magic School Bus, and Goosebumps.
Scholastic acquired the distinctive brands Klutz and Weston Woods in the 1990s.
Harry Potter mania took over in the late 1990s and is still going strong today.


Scholastic Experiences Extensive Growth Around the World


Milestones in the New Millennium


News for Kids, by Kids

In 2000, the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps was created to feature “news for kids, by kids.” This award-winning group of talented Kid Reporters, ages 10–14, reports on current events, breaking news, entertainment stories, and sporting events from across the country and around the world. The program was rebranded as Scholastic Kids Press in 2019.


Grolier Acquisition Strengthens Scholastic's International Footprint

In 2000 Scholastic acquired Grolier, one of the largest U.S. publishers of general encyclopedias. The purchase included imprints such as Franklin Watts and Orchard Books®, and strengthen Scholastic presence in Southeast Asia and the UK. Today, Scholastic operates around the world with original publishing of trade books and educational materials, distribution through Book Clubs and Book Fairs, instructional materials for schools, and exports to more than 165 international locations. 


Klutz® Joins the Scholastic Family

Founded in 1977, Klutz creates book-based activity kits that stimulate creativity and critical thinking in kids of all ages. By combining crystal-clear instructions, premium materials, and a healthy dose of fun, each kit builds creative confidence while encouraging hands-on learning. Scholastic acquired Klutz in 2002 and expanded the imprint to include two new product lines: Klutz Jr. (2017), for kids ages 4 and up, and a STEM-focused line, Klutz Maker Lab (2018).


Pioneering Graphic Novels for Kids

In 2005, Scholastic's Graphix imprint launched with the color edition of BONE #1: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith, creating a separate platform for Scholastic graphic novels. Graphix titles have become bestsellers around the globe and continue to receive awards and critical acclaim, including multiple Eisner Award wins and nominations, a Stonewall Book Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor, an Edgar Allan Poe nomination, and more than 14 New York Times bestsellers to date. In September 2019, Raina Telgemeier’s third middle-grade graphic novel memoir, Guts, premiered as the #1 bestselling book in the country overall.


Becoming a Leader in Literacy Based Research

Scholastic has been committed to research-based thought leadership since we launched the Kids & Family Reading Report™ in 2006. The report shares the views of both kids and parents on reading books for fun and the influences that affect kids’ reading frequency and attitudes toward reading. The 7th edition was released in 2019. Other research reports include the Teacher & Principal School Report series which showcases the results from a national survey of more than 4,700 public school pre-K through 12th grade educators on critical issues affecting schools and districts across the U.S.


The Hunger Games Takes the World by Storm

In 2008, Scholastic published The Hunger Games, the first title in Suzanne Collins’ wildly popular dystopian trilogy. The Hunger Games spent more than 260 consecutive weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. There are more than 100 million copies of all three books in the trilogy, and the series was adapted into four hit films. earning more than $3 billion at the box office.


The Scholastic Reads Podcast Tells our Story to a New Audience

Scholastic launched its corporate podcast Scholastic Reads in December 2015. The award-winning show explores topics important to parents and educators, and features the books that Scholastic publishes for children and young adults, including interviews with the authors, editors, and stories behind them.


Dav Pilkey Unleashes Dog Man

In 2016, Captain Underpants creator Dav Pilkey introduced readers to Dog Man, a part-canine, part-policeman superhero. Hailed by critics, the bestselling graphic novel series has more than 26 million copies in print to date, with 35 foreign language editions available. The series was also adapted into a successful off-Broadway musical in 2019.


Introducing Clifford to a Whole
New Generation

A rebooted animated series starring Clifford and Emily Elizabeth launched on Amazon and PBS Kids in December 2019. In late 2020, Clifford will conquer movie screens everywhere in a major live-action feature film from Paramount. With all-new book publishing to accompany both the animated series and the movie, Clifford is poised to capture the hearts and imaginations of a whole new generation of young readers.  


Celebrating our Centennial

On October 22, 2020, Scholastic celebrated its 100th anniversary.

The new millennium saw the beginning of Scholastic's news organization that is strictly “by kids, for kids.”
The 2000s saw Scholastic becoming a key player in literacy based research.
Scholastic’s graphic novel imprint Graphix publishes some of the bestselling graphic novels in the world, including the Bone series as well as all of Raina Teglemeier’s works.  
Scholastic scored another cultural phenomenon with the release of The Hunger Games in 2008.
In 2016 Dav Pilkey introduced another lovable character that would hit it big with young readers: Dog Man.
In 2019 a rebooted Clifford the Big Red Dog animated series premiered on Amazon Prime Video and PBS Kids.
Scholastic celebrates its centennial anniversary in 2020.