Routledge & Kegan Paul Archive

Reference: RKPDate: c. 1926-1946Extent: c. 227 boxes

Routledge & Kegan Paul formed in 1912, when the publisher Routledge & Sons took over the firm of Kegan Paul, Trench, TrĂĽbner & Co.

George Routledge began as a bookseller and published his first book in 1836. In 1851, he founded his publishing company Routledge & Co with his brother-in-laws William and Frederick Warne. A year later, Routledge was one of several British firms to reprint Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin; they sold more than half a million copies, a publishing record. After briefly being known as Routledge, Warne & Routledge, the company became George Routledge & Sons in 1865 after Frederick left to form his own firm, Frederick Warne & Co.

In 1899, due to mismanagement, Routledge & Sons had to declare bankruptcy and was in receivership until 1902, when it attracted several investors and a new board of directors. One of the new directors was William Swan Sonnenschein, who had owned his own publishing firm, Swan Sonnenschein & Co. By 1903, Routledge & Sons began to expand once again, taking over John C. Nimmo Company that year and Kegan Paul, Trench, TrĂĽbner & Co in 1912.

Kegan Paul & Co started in 1877, after Charles Kegan Paul bought the business of Henry S. King & Co, founded in 1868. Paul had been King’s manager for several years before purchasing the business. Five years later, Paul took Alfred Trench into partnership and renamed the business Kegan Paul, Trench and Co the following year. In 1889, Kegan Paul, Trench & Co merged with TrĂĽbner & Co, which was founded by Nicholas TrĂĽbner in 1851. The new company become known as Kegan Paul, Trench, TrĂĽbner & Co.

When George Routledge & Sons took over Kegan Paul, Trench, TrĂĽbner & Co in 1912, they kept the latter as an imprint. It was not until 1947 that the two formally merged and became Routledge & Kegan Paul. In 1985, the Associated Book Publishers acquired Routledge & Kegan Paul. Two years later, the group was acquired by International Thomson. After a management buyout in 1996, Routledge began operating as an independent company once again. In 1998, the Taylor & Francis Group bought Routledge, with the Routledge name being retained as an imprint and subdivision.

The Routledge & Kegan Paul archives are divided, with ledgers, authors’ agreements, printed catalogues and other papers 1853-1973 being held by the Library at University College London.

The Routledge & Kegan Paul archive held by the University of Reading contains approximately 227 boxes. This collection contains correspondence files and some business records from Routledge & Kegan Paul. These files cover the period 1933 to 1946.

Source for some information: Anderson, Patricia and Jonathan Rose (eds.), Dictionary of Literary Biography 106. London: Gale Research Inc., pp. 1238-244, 261-270.

Please note the collection is stored off site, so please contact us at least five working days in advance of your visit.

More Information