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Sadlier Company History

For nearly 200 years, we at William H. Sadlier, Inc. have been forming K–12 students in the Catholic faith and preparing them for academic success by offering a variety of educational materials in print and digital formats.

Leading one of the few family businesses of its age, our Sadlier family proudly continues to nurture the vision of founders, Denis and James Sadlier, with integrity, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to educational publishing.

Our story is one of triumph, through generations of one family’s perseverance and dedication to a singular vision of service and excellence.

In 1832, brothers Denis and James Sadlier, Irish immigrants who settled in New York, began publishing materials to meet the spiritual and educational needs of the Irish immigrant community. Mary Anne Madden Sadlier, the wife of James, was one of the primary contributors to the editorial work of the company, D & J Sadlier. In 1895, she was awarded the distinguished Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame for her prolific work as a novelist. Their nephew William H. Sadlier worked with his uncles for several years and in 1872 launched his own eponymous publishing firm, which later merged with the business Denis and James had founded to become the venerable publishing company we are today, William H. Sadlier, Inc.

We owe some of our longevity to very strong, business-minded women, including Annie Cassidy Sadlier, the wife of William H. Sadlier. After the sudden death of her husband in 1877, Annie successfully petitioned the New York State legislature to pass a special bill allowing her to run the company in her late husband’s name. At the time she became President, she was a 26-year-old widow expecting her third child. Believing in the company’s potential, she used her husband’s life insurance payment to sustain and grow the business.

William and Anne’s son Frank Sadlier, who eventually assumed leadership, steered the company through the Great Depression with best-selling titles, including Social Geography, and by creating Catholic education workbooks at a time when Catholic schools couldn’t afford costly textbooks. Neva Hecker Sadlier, Frank’s wife, was a prolific Catholic author and a long-serving Chair of the Board of Sadlier.

In 1972, under the leadership of F. Sadlier Dinger, then Chair of the Board and the only grandchild of William and Annie, the Oxford Book Company was acquired, achieving the mission of publishing books across several academic disciplines. During his tenure, F. Sadlier Dinger mentored and groomed his two sons, Frank and William, for future company roles.

For 25 years, brothers Frank Sadlier Dinger and William Sadlier Dinger, fondly known as Ding and Bill, led our company through a period of growth. Both great-grandsons of our company’s namesake, Ding currently serves as the Chair of the Board while Bill served as President Emeritus and a director until his death in 2018.

Pioneers in engaging students in their faith and developing groundbreaking curriculum across academic disciplines, our founders’ entrepreneurial spirit lives on in the generations of family and employees who have dedicated themselves to the success of our company.

For nearly two centuries, our downtown New York City-based company has thrived. Sixth-generation family members currently in leadership roles include Melissa Dinger Gibbons, Director of Customer Service; William Sadlier Dinger, Jr., Group Vice President; and Angela Dinger, Senior Vice President and General Counsel.

Employees beyond the family, such as Frank Power and Dr. Elinor R. Ford, served in roles such as Publisher, President, and Chief Executive Officer, and enthusiastically adopted our ethos and vision to be a leader in education. Raymond D. Fagan, who has been at the company since 2012, was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer in 2017.

Today at Sadlier, we utilize technology and traditional resources to provide parishes and Catholic, private, and public schools with materials that help you and your students achieve academic success—across the United States and internationally. Looking to the future, Ray’s leadership along with an experienced Executive Team and Board of Directors that each includes several family members will continue to guide Sadlier toward a third century of innovation and growth.

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