While I was in Canada last year, I found a copy of Arco’s “TOEFL” from 1974/75.  This is the oldest TOEFL book I have ever had in my hands.  It was written by Harriet N. Moreno, Edith H. Babin and Carol V Scallon.  Interestingly, the audio files came on vinyl records (which I could not get).

I can’t resist using this opportunity to write a few words about Arco.

Though it is largely forgotten nowadays, Arco was one of the very first publishers of test preparation books in the United States.  Founded in 1937 (two years before Barron’s) by Milton Gladstone, the company eventually branched out into fiction and cheap general reference books of all sorts.  Notably, the publisher attracted the attention of the United States government due to the publication of its “Arco Sophisticates” line of paperback erotica (many written by Jack Woodford). Gladstone was subpoenaed and spoke before the US House of Representatives in 1952.   

In 1978, the publisher was acquired by Simon and Schuster.  Thanks to its long association with test prep books, the “Arco” brand name was valuable enough to be passed through various hands including those of Pearson , IDG, Thomson, Cengage and Peterson’s.  I think Peterson’s still owns the name, but I suspect no one over there even knows that.  The last book to bear the Arco name was published in 2010, as far as I can tell.  It was a guide to the Federal Clerical Exam.  I think Peterson’s retired the brand after that.

Anyhow… the gallery below contains a few pictures of the TOEFL book, including the cover, back cover, preface and “how to be a master test taker” guide.  I took a few more pictures that I won’t share here.  Let me know if you need ’em for some reason.  They include some actual questions.

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