Hippocrene specializes in books on folklore, ethnic cookbooks (particularly of less widely known cuisines), translations of classic literature, and foreign-language reference works. It grew out of Optimum Book Marketing, established in 1970 by Polish immigrant George Blagowidow.
Hippocrene was started by George Blagowidow, who was born in Poland to Russian parents and survived the Nazi occupation to escape communist Europe in 1945. After attending university in Antwerp, Belgium, he came to New York City in 1951, where he earned master’s and doctorate degrees in business from New York University. He worked at Doubleday, Macmillan, and Reader's Digest before starting his own publishing company with Hippocrene’s first list in spring 1972, featuring European literary classics in translation, including The Doll by Polish novelist Bolesław Prus.
In 1973 the company began distributing foreign-language dictionaries for a German company and continued to thrive in that niche. As of 2008, Hippocrene has published in over 112 languages, including Polish-interest books such as Quo Vadis by Nobel Prize-winning novelist Henryk Sienkiewicz.
In 1983, Best of Polish Cooking, by Karen West, was the first cookbook published by the company. Hippocrene has since expanded its line of ethnic cookbooks to include 64 cuisines. The company also publishes histories and illustrated histories. Its illustrated dictionaries for children, started in 1998, are available in 16 languages.
- Czech, Moravian, and Slovak Fairy Tales (Parker Fillmore and Jan Matulka)
- Fairy Gold: A Book of Classic English Fairy Tales (Parker Fillmore)
- Folk Tales from Bohemia (Adolf Wenig)
- Folk Tales From Chile (Brenda Hughes)
- Folk Tales from Russia (Danald A. Mackenzie)
- Folk Tales from Simla (Alice Elizabeth Dracott)
- Glass Mountain: Twenty-Eight Ancient Polish Folk Tales and Fables (W.S. Kuniczak)
- The Little Mermaid and Other Tales (Hans Christian Andersen)
- Swedish Fairy Tales
- Tales of Languedoc from the South of France (Samuel Jacques Brun)
- Twenty Scottish Tales and Legends (Cyril Swinson)
- Old Polish Legends
- Poland's Navy, 1918–1945 (Michael Alfred Peszke)
- Polish Fables Bilingual Edition (Ignacy Krasicki)
- Pakistani Folk Tales: Toontoony Pie and Other Stories (Ashraf Siddiqui, Marilyn Lerch)
- Bolesław Prus, Pharaoh, translated from the Polish by Christopher Kasparek, 2nd ed., 2001.
- The Jewish People's Almanac, 2d ed., 2007. (David C. Gross)
- "About Hippocrene Books". Hippocrene Books. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
Chapter about Hippocrene:
- Aleksandra Ziolkowska-Boehm, The Roots Are Polish, Toronto 2004, ISBN 0-920517-05-6.