Years in the Paperback Market
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Founders Sanford Aday and Wallace de Ortega Maxey were members of the Mattachine Society, an early gay rights organization. Aday published books under several imprints and distributed them via his company West Coast News. The use of numerous imprints was an effort to avoid police attention. The publishers were convicted in 1963 for shipping obscene materials through the U.S. mail. Several books were cited but only one, “Sex Life of a Cop” by Oscar Peck, was found to be obscene. Their combined sentences amounted to 25 years in prison and $25000 in fines. They drew the support of the American Civil Liberties Union and appealed the ruling. By the time the case made its way to the Supreme Court in 1967, other court decisions (Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 496, and Manual Enterprises, Inc. v. Day, 370 U.S. 478) had changed the tests of obscenity permitted in court and the convictions were overturned.