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Collection Summary

Collection Title
University of Reading, Archive of British Publishing and Printing
The Publishing Archive, the largest and most significant collection of unique material on this subject in the world, covers some of the major UK publishers from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collections contain correspondence with authors, manuscript drafts, readers’ reports, proofs, editorial material, catalogues, books, original artwork for illustrations and book jackets, ledgers, accounts and business and marketing records. It is a key resource for a wide range of research including literary biography, book history and the economics of publishing.

The Publishing Archive includes material from the following:

George Allen & Unwin Ltd, Baillière, Tindall & Cox, George Bell & Sons Ltd, A. & C. Black, The Bodley Head Ltd, Jonathan Cape Ltd, Chatto & Windus Ltd, William Clowes & Sons, Crosby Lockwood, Darton & Harvey, De La Rue and Company Ltd, Elkin Mathews, Gaberbocchus Press, Heinemann Educational Books, The Hogarth Press Ltd, Keepsake Press, Ladybird Books, London Typographical Designers Ltd, The Longman Group, Macmillan and Company Ltd, Peter Owen Ltd, Phoenix House Ltd, G. P. Putnam, Routledge & Kegan Paul, Secker & Warburg Ltd, Swan Sonnenschein, Virago Press, Frederick Warne, Werner Laurie Ltd.

Reading University Library has many other collections relating to the British book industry and book history, which form a valuable resource for the study of all aspects of book production and printing. As well as these collections, authors’ papers, the rare book collection, and incunabula are also used by researchers into book history.

For a full list of the publishing archives, please see the list of Reading University Library Special Collections at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/library/colls/special/collsindex.html
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscript drafts
  • proofs
  • Editorial material
  • Catalogues
  • Books
  • Artwork
  • Ledgers
  • Accounts
  • Business records
  • Readers' reports
The largest and most significant collection of archive material on British publishing in the world.
Date range of collection
1718 -
Accumulation Dates
1965 -
Suggested Audience
higher education
Associated Places
Associated Times
Viewing the collection
Readers will need the written consent of Random House to consult the archives of Chatto and Windus Ltd, The Hogarth Press Ltd, Jonathan Cape Ltd, Secker & Warburg Ltd and The Bodley Head Ltd. Please contact the Random House Archivist at jrose@randomhouse.co.uk.
Details also available
Many of the collections are only partially catalogued, although an increasing number of items are appearing on the online catalogue, Unicorn (see http://www.reading.ac.uk/library/unicorn/index.html). Handlists for some collections are also available.

Location Details

University of Reading, Special Collections Service
The University of Reading, Redlands Road Reading RG1 5EX United Kingdom
Open Map
0118 378 8660
0118 378 5632 
Visiting Information
Monday to Friday: 9.00 to 17.00.
Collections Overview
The University Library’s Archives contain the Beckett Collection, the world’s largest collection of material relating to Samuel Beckett, the author and dramatist; records of British publishing and printing; authors’ papers, representing over fifty novelists, poets, playwrights and non-fiction writers; records relating to local companies, estates and families; eight archives of political and government papers, and archives and records of The University of Reading. The University’s Rare Book collections include pre-1851 publications, incunabula, private press books, modern literary first editions and other printed material. Important collections of rare books include the Overstone Library, a nineteenth-century private library; and the Cole Library covering the history of early medicine and zoology. More detailed collection descriptions are available at: www.reading.ac.uk/library/colls/special.
For details of other collections held at the same location: See the location record

Additional Collection Information

Accrual Status
Active accrual policy, purchase and deposit.
Related Publications
Management Information (Type)
  • Archive.
Collection Owner(s)
Collection Creator(s)
Collection Collector(s)
Collection Custodians(s)
Associated Collection(s)

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