Explore significant moments in HarperCollins history

William Collins V (known as Billy Collins) and the printers AdPrint came up with the idea of the New Naturalist Library in 1942. More
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  • Life On Earth
  • Illustration from Incidents of Travel in Yucatán (1843).
  • An edition of Harper’s Illuminated and New Pictorial Bible from 1846.
  • Collins' Dictionaries (Pages view)
  • Example of Fontana Type
Born on the south side of Glasgow in the village of Pollokshaws in 1789, William Collins left school to work as a weaver and clerk in a local cotton mill. More
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  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • The 1859 license granted to William Collins and Company, giving it permission to print the Bible.
  • Westbow
  • Factory floor with steam presses
  • Title pages of several books featured in Harper’s Family Library in the 1830s, including The History of the Bible and The Lives of Celebrated Travelers.
Though a shared love of the written word inspired those who laid the foundation of HarperCollins, spreading Christian principles was a calling for them. More
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  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • Westbow
  • HarperCollins Publishers (Since 1817) 200 Years Anniversary Logo
  • Heaven Is For Real
  • Grace for the Moment
Robert Row was a textbook author and teacher. More
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  • H&R Logo circa 1962
  • A Time to Heal by Gerald R. Ford (1979).
  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • The Lippincott logo from 1937.
  • Editions of Color by Countee Cullen (1925), The Known World by Edward P. Jones (2003), Annie Allen by Gwendolyn Brooks (1949), and a 1978 edition of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1934).
One of Harper & Brothers’ most famous and influential authors was Aldous Huxley, who signed with the publisher in 1927 and published his first book, Texts and Pretexts, with them in 1932. More
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  • Aldous Huxley
  • Brave New World
  • neil gaiman
  • American Gods
  • The War of the Worlds
In 1845 Thomas Nelson and Sons moved its operations to a printing works at Hope Park in Scotland, big enough for its growing staff of more than 400. More
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  • The Thomas Nelson office on Paternoster Row in London.
  • Westbow
  • Title page of the Thomas Nelson edition of the Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1860).
  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • The 1859 license granted to William Collins and Company, giving it permission to print the Bible.
Lew Wallace, a Union general in the Civil War, wrote the biblical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ in 1880. More
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  • An 1885 letter from Henry Hoyns to the Harper brothers requesting a raise after being promoted to the stock desk.
  • Moby Dick
  • Author Catharine M. Sedgwick (1832).
  • Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey (1912).
  • Jane Eyre
In 1860, Harper & Brothers had paid Wilkie Collins £750 for The Woman in White, which heralded the publisher’s entry into the crime and mystery genre. More
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  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
  • And Then There Were None
  • The Woman in White
  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • Agatha Christie.
In early 1945, Ursula Nordstrom, head of Harper’s Department of Books for Boys and Girls was awaiting completion of E. B. White’s manuscript for a children’s story about a talking mouse, titled Stuart Little. More
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  • Marketing flyer promoting the 1946 publication of Little Fur Family, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Garth Williams.
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik. Pictures bt Maurice Sendak. an I CAN READ book. (Cover)
  • Letter from Katherine White (E. B. White’s wife) regarding Stuart Little’s illustrations
HarperCollins’s connections to nascent science fiction and fantasy worlds began with works such as Edward Lytton Bulwer’s The Coming Race (1871), and H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds (1898) and The Invisible Man (1898). More
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  • The Fellowship of the Ring
  • A Game of Thrones
  • A Game of Thrones
  • The Case of the Velvet Claws by Erle Stanley Gardner (William Morrow, 1933) and The Corpse in the Green Pyjamas by R. A. J. Walling (Avon Books, 1941).
  • The War of the Worlds
In October 1936, Stanley Unwin, chairman of British publishers George Allen & Unwin (later acquired by HarperCollins), received a children’s book submission. More
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  • J. R. R. Tolkien.
  • A 1961 edition of The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.
  • The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia #1)
  • The Hobbit
In response to global paper shortages during World War II, Canada began manufacturing books for international markets in 1941. More
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  • A planning meeting at Collins Canada, circa 1940s
  • The 1940 destruction of the Collins Bridewell Place offices.
  • Original contract for Thorn-Apple Tree
  • An advertisement for the New Naturalist Library.
  • Australian author Banjo Paterson, best known for writing “The Man from Snowy River.”
When Anne Carroll Moore, the powerful and opinionated superintendent of children’s work at the New York Public Library, asked Harper & Brothers editor Ursula Nordstrom why she felt qualified to produce children’s books, Nordstrom said only this: “Well, I am a former child, and I haven’t forgotten a thing.” More
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  • Virginia Kirkus.
  • Stuart Little
  • Shel Silverstein’s original artwork for a “Union for Children’s Rights” from A Light in the Attic (1981).
  • A Light in the Attic
  • Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik. Pictures bt Maurice Sendak. an I CAN READ book. (Cover)
In the early 1800s, American publishers were notorious for reprinting titles from overseas at a fraction of the price, and without payment to authors. More
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  • An ad promoting all of the Harper periodicals: Harper’s Weekly, Harper’s New Monthly, and Harper’s Bazaar.
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Moby Dick
  • Bleak House
  • S.S. Europe
Sir Stanley Unwin, chairman of British publishers George Allen & Unwin (later acquired by HarperCollins), originally rejected the 9,250-page manuscript of The Lord of the Rings, the sequel to J. R. R. Tolkien’s moderately successful (at the time) The Hobbit, as it was too long, and the author would make a deal with the publisher only if they also agreed to take another of his unfinished books. More
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  • A letter from J. R. R. Tolkien to his editor regarding the first chapter of his “sequel” to The Hobbit, titled “A Long-expected Party”—which would become the first chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia #1)
  • Map of Middle Earth
  • The Hobbit
Gabriel García Márquez drew on his childhood experiences in Colombia when crafting the story of the fictional Buendía family in the classic One Hundred Years of Solitude. More
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  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude. (Cover)
  • Telegram regarding the publication of One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Editions of Color by Countee Cullen (1925), The Known World by Edward P. Jones (2003), Annie Allen by Gwendolyn Brooks (1949), and a 1978 edition of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1934).
  • Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin (Original cover)
Lawrence Heisey, a former soap salesman who had been appointed president of Harlequin in 1971, revolutionized romance publishing by distributing Harlequin romances to supermarkets and department stores, where they would be right at the fingertips of Canadian and American homemakers. More
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  • Collection of books
  • An advertisement for Is Sex Necessary? by James Thurber and E. B. White, published in The New York Times on January 19, 1930.
  • A collection of titles published by Harlequin.
  • The Hospital in Buwambo by Anne Vinton, Harlequin’s first reprint (1957) of a Mills & Boon romance.
  • Prince Charles reading a Harlequin Mills & Boon title
In 1800, an upstart 20-year-old printer named Thomas Neilson (who later changed his name to Nelson) set off a firestorm of controversy throughout the Scottish publishing world by offering something never before seen in Great Britain: classic books produced and printed for “the common man.” More
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  • The 1859 license granted to William Collins and Company, giving it permission to print the Bible.
  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • Rotary printing press machine
  • Westbow
  • The Thomas Nelson office on Paternoster Row in London.
For years, the Harper brothers relied on a white draft horse named Dobbin, who plodded a circular path in the basement of their offices, turning a wooden shaft that powered the Treadwell hand press two floors above, until new technology sent him out to pasture. More
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  • An illustration depicting the Harper fire of 1853.
  • An advertisement for the Collins Select Library of Christian Authors, which ran in The School Newspaper on January 2, 1882.
  • “A Word of Apology” from Harper & Brothers regarding the Harper fire of 1853
  • An ad promoting all of the Harper periodicals: Harper’s Weekly, Harper’s New Monthly, and Harper’s Bazaar.
  • The 1859 license granted to William Collins and Company, giving it permission to print the Bible.
Harper & Brothers helped groom the image of a future president when it agreed in the mid-1950s to work with a young senator on a collection of biographical sketches about courageous American lawmakers. More
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  • Profiles in Courage (Cover). Decisive moments in the lives of celebrated americans. Senator John F. Kennedy. Forward by Allan Nevins.
  • Profiles in Courage
  • A Time to Heal by Gerald R. Ford (1979).
  • A New York Times advertisement announcing the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which ran on July 17, 1960.
  • Strength to Love by Martin Luther King Jr.
The efforts of one man in the mid-1950s brought about the publication of the New International Version of the Bible, a contemporary English translation that provided an accurate and understandable alternative to the King James Version, which had been the dominant translation for centuries. More
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  • The 1859 license granted to William Collins and Company, giving it permission to print the Bible.
  • Bernie and Pat Zondervan outside their Grand Rapids headquarters
  • The Thomas Nelson office on Paternoster Row in London.
  • The Zondervans on their silver anniversary
Although word-processing programs and electronic typewriters had been around since the late 1960s, Harper & Row was the first to help pioneer electronic publishing with Andrew Garve’s The Long Short Cut in 1968, which was, according to the New York Times, “the first book set into type completely by electronic composition.” More
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  • An illustration depicting the Harper fire of 1853.
  • New York Public Library at 42nd Street Rendering (Creative Commons License)
  • Dylan Thomas Reading A Child's Christmas in Wales LPCover
  • Stereotyping
Beginning in 1830, the Harper brothers believed that the increasingly literate populace might clamor for turnkey collections. More
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  • An advertisement for the Collins Select Library of Christian Authors, which ran in The School Newspaper on January 2, 1882.
  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • HarperCollins Publishers (Since 1817) 200 Years Anniversary Logo
  • The 1859 license granted to William Collins and Company, giving it permission to print the Bible.
  • The Harper “fire” and Collins “water” colophons, which were combined to create today’s “fire and water” HarperCollins logo.
In 1866, with mostly newspaper articles and other short works to his name, Mark Twain accepted an assignment from the Sacramento Union to produce a weekly column from Hawaii. More
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  • An ad promoting all of the Harper periodicals: Harper’s Weekly, Harper’s New Monthly, and Harper’s Bazaar.
  • Middlemarch
  • A snippet of the first installment of Middlemarch by George Eliot, which was serialized in Harper’s Weekly (December 16, 1871).
  • Image of men in suits (TO DO: add names)
  • A Christmas Carol
Born in 1813 in New Jersey, Joshua Ballinger Lippincott became a bookseller shortly after he moved to Philadelphia at age 14. More
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  • Harper Lee in blue dress
  • A New York Times advertisement announcing the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which ran on July 17, 1960.
  • Author Catharine M. Sedgwick (1832).
  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
Shortly after the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955 and ‘56, Harper & Brothers religious books editor Eugene Exman left New York City for Alabama and secured a meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. More
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  • A page from the Fall 1937 Harper & Brothers catalog touting This Is My Story by Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. A Novel by Betty Smith. Original Cover. Harper & Brothers. Established 1817.
  • Editions of Color by Countee Cullen (1925), The Known World by Edward P. Jones (2003), Annie Allen by Gwendolyn Brooks (1949), and a 1978 edition of Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1934).
  • New York Times advertisement for Profiles in Courage from May 19, 1957.
  • Native Son (Cover)
In 1965, members from the Christian Reformed Church and a broad spectrum of evangelical churches, denominations, and organizations came together to discuss the creation of a new contemporary translation of the Bible. More
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  • The New King james Bible New Testament (Cover)
  • The Thomas Nelson office on Paternoster Row in London.
  • The Late Great Planet Earth. The National Best Seller by Hal Lindsey with C.C. Carlson. A penetrating look at incredible prophecies involving this generation. (Cover)
  • The 1859 license granted to William Collins and Company, giving it permission to print the Bible.