Our collections relating to the British book industry form a valuable resource for the study of all aspects of book production and printing. As a whole, these form the Archive of British Printing and Publishing, which is officially Designated by Arts Council England as an outstanding collection.
We hold the archives of 20 large or general publishing firms. These include a number of imprints that are now part of Penguin Random House (including Bodley Head, Hogarth Press, Jonathan Cape, Chatto & Windus), as well as the archives of one of the longest established publishing houses, Longman. Other major holdings include records of George Allen & Unwin, George Bell, A&C Black, Macmillan, Virago Press and Routledge & Kegan Paul. Please note that access restrictions apply to many of our modern publishing records.
These are also well-represented with a strong grouping around children’s literature including the artwork for Ladybird Books. Military history is represented in the Leo Cooper archive and romance fiction by Mills & Boon (although they were also a significant general publisher).
Records of the book trade
Our holdings extend beyond publishing and include the archives of two major high street retailers with significant book departments: WH Smith and Woolworth’s.
Printing and ephemera
Significant printing collections include those of De La Rue, Rowley Atterbury / Westerham Press. These are complemented by some large ephemera and print history collections, most notably that of John and Griselda Lewis. Related material may also be found in the University’s Lettering, printing and graphic design collections, which include the Centre for Ephemera Studies.
See our Collections A-Z pages for descriptions of each of our collections. Also see our list of all publishing and printing collections here.
Many, but not all of our collections are catalogued and searchable via the online catalogue. Please contact us if you need more information.
You can access these collections via the reading room.
We welcome use of our collections in teaching sessions.