Hogarth Press Archive

Reference: MS 2750Date: 1920 -1955Extent: 627 files, with notebooks and ledgers

In 1917 Leonard and Virginia Woolf published a thirty-one page booklet entitled Two Stories, printed on a hand press in their dining room at Hogarth House in Richmond, Surrey. It was to be the first of the Hogarth Press publications, at first sold informally amongst their friends and later by subscription.

Between 1917 and 1932 the Woolf’s handprinted thirty-four books, including T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ and Katherine Mansfield’s ‘Prelude’. During this period the Press functioned as part hobby and part cottage industry, based still at Hogarth House. From 1918 to 1923 part-time assistants were hired, and then in 1923 the Press’s first full-time employee, Marjorie Thomson Joad.

In 1920 two books were chosen for publication; too long to be printed by hand, Maksim Gorky’s ‘Reminiscences of Leo Nicolayevitch Tolstoi’ and Logan Pearsall Smith’s ‘Stories from the Old Testament Retold’ became the first works to be published by the Hogarth Press on a more commercial footing, using the services of the Pelican Press. Other early titles included further translations of contemporary Russian writing by Gorky, Bunin and Dostoyevski. The Hogarth Press also became the authorised publisher of the works of Sigmund Freud.

In March 1924 the Woolf’s and their press moved to 52 Tavistock Square, London. As their publishing business expanded they relied more on commercial printers, including R & R Clark of Edinburgh, and the Garden City Press in Letchworth, although they continued to handprint books as a hobby.

During the Blitz the Hogarth Press moved to the premises of one of its printers, the Garden City Press, at Letchworth. In 1941 the partnership with John Lehmann, the general manager and joint partner with Leonard Woolf was dissolved, and his share in the company was sold to Chatto and Windus.

Post-war material from the Hogarth Press is contained in the Chatto & Windus collection.


Readers will need the written permission of Penguin Random House before consulting material in this collection.


The collection contains 627 book files from 1922-1955, each containing items such as readers’ reports, editorial and rights correspondence, and publicity material. Many of the earlier files contain the publisher’s summary of production details and notes about expenses. In addition, there are four notebooks owned by Leonard Woolf. There are also ledgers containing sales, cash and author statements c. 1926-1948. Post-war material from the Hogarth Press is contained in the Archive of Chatto & Windus.

The collection consists of the following series:

  • MS 2750/1-627 Book files: editorial, production and publicity: 1922-1955. Correspondence files concerning much of the Hogarth Press publishing output.
  • MS 2750/A Bound volumes: order books, cash books, stock books, ledgers and manuscript books: 1920-1994
  • MS 2750/B Outgoing letter books: 1946-1951; 1965-1967; 1975-1982
  • MS 2750/C Correspondence regarding Virginia Woolf translation rights: 1924-1983
  • MS 2750/D Photographs: 1960s-1990s
  • MS 2750/E Production

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