The Collins UK warehouse, circa 1948

Crates of books sit in the Collins warehouse ready for distribution all over the world—from Johannesburg to Jerusalem to Madagascar. Complex government regulations covering dispatch of goods overseas in the mid-1900s demanded a very high level of efficiency on the part of the staff of the export department, which in 1948 numbered more than eighty. It was imperative that they not only knew their geography, but were conversant with the intricacies of export licenses, currency restrictions, and shipping facilities.