Explore significant moments in HarperCollins history

In between the two world wars, Harper authors tackled the then taboo subject of sex. More
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  • Two classic Avon romance titles, Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers (1974) and Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss (1977).
  • Virginia Kirkus.
  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • Ursula Nordstrom.
  • Kathleen E. Woodiwiss Author of Shanna. The Flame and the Flower. (Cover)
Neither Maurice Sendak nor Shel Silverstein started their careers with children’s literature as a focus. More
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  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • A 1972 edition of William’s Doll, written by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrated by William Pène Du Bois.
  • Virginia Kirkus.
  • Ursula Nordstrom.
  • Charlotte’s Web
When Richard H.G. Bonnycastle, a former Arctic explorer with the Hudson Bay Company, launched Harlequin Books in Winnipeg in 1948, he had little interest in building a publishing empire around romance novels. More
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  • The Hospital in Buwambo
  • Anne O'Brien
  • Strange Loves of a seaman The Manatee by Nancy Bruff
  • An advertisement for Is Sex Necessary? by James Thurber and E. B. White, published in The New York Times on January 19, 1930.
  • Lynne Graham
Collins author Judith Kerr may be best known in the UK for her classic children’s picture books The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog the Forgetful Cat, but she is also renowned for her powerful autobiographical novels about her childhood and young adulthood. More
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  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
  • The 1940 destruction of the Collins Bridewell Place offices.
  • Photocopy of a newspaper review of "Their eyes were watching God"
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea
  • Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak (Cover)
In 1977, a handful of Harper & Row employees from the Religious Books Department moved from New York to San Francisco to focus on titles pertaining to mind, body, and spirit. More
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  • 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).
  • A page from the Fall 1937 Harper & Brothers catalog touting This Is My Story by Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • The 1859 license granted to William Collins and Company, giving it permission to print the Bible.
  • Sam Moore
  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
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.
  • Thomas Nelson
  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • Rotary printing press machine
  • Employees working in the Nelson and Sons bindery.
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
  • Bleak House
  • Moby Dick
  • S.S. Europe
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.
  • Sympathy telegram to Coretta Scott King following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • A leader of his people tells The Montgomery Story. Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King, Jr. (Cover)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. A Novel by Betty Smith. Original Cover. Harper & Brothers. Established 1817.
  • Native Son (Cover)
The house of Collins acquired “Queen of Crime” Agatha Christie after she disagreed with her former publisher over the spelling of “coco”/”cocoa” in her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. More
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  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
  • And Then There Were None
  • Agatha Christie and Collins enjoying a drink at a party.
  • Agatha Christie
  • The Fellowship of the Ring
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.
  • Dylan Thomas Reading A Child's Christmas in Wales LPCover
  • Stereotyping
  • New York Public Library at 42nd Street Rendering (Creative Commons License)
The Harper brothers first began publishing in the early 1800s, when emerging technologies were fundamentally changing the process of printing–replacing the painstaking compositing, inking, and pulling processes needed for each page. More
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  • An illustration depicting the Harper fire of 1853.
  • Stereotyping
  • An advertisement for the Collins Select Library of Christian Authors, which ran in The School Newspaper on January 2, 1882.
  • Official City Hall portrait of James Harper
  • An ad promoting all of the Harper periodicals: Harper’s Weekly, Harper’s New Monthly, and Harper’s Bazaar.
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
  • The War of the Worlds
  • Down and Out in Paris and London
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
  • Map of Middle Earth
  • A 1961 edition of The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia #1)
The Harper brothers consistently sought ways to reach more readers with less expensive publications, and in 1850 they revolutionized the concept of the modern literary magazine with Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. More
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  • Moby Dick
  • The first installment of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens published in Harper’s Weekly.
  • A snippet of the first installment of Middlemarch by George Eliot, which was serialized in Harper’s Weekly (December 16, 1871).
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Beginning with This Is My Story (1937), Harper & Brothers published many works by Eleanor Roosevelt that promoted civil rights and the need for government action, including This I Remember (1949), On My Own (1958), and Tomorrow Is Now (1963). More
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  • 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).
  • Letter to Eleanor Roosevelt regarding a new autobiographical book
  • Photocopy of a newspaper review of "Their eyes were watching God"
  • Profiles in Courage
  • Native Son (Cover)
In the mid-late 1800s, Harper & Brothers reprinted several milestone titles in the history of British feminist literature as well as the global canon, such as Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1847), Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848), as well as George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1872). More
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  • The Brontë Sisters by Patrick Branwell Brontë restored
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Wuthering Heights
  • A snippet of the first installment of Middlemarch by George Eliot, which was serialized in Harper’s Weekly (December 16, 1871).
  • Photocopy of a newspaper review of "Their eyes were watching God"
In the UK, William Collins II of Collins and Sons took up labor causes, especially child labor. More
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  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • The 1940 destruction of the Collins Bridewell Place offices.
  • The Collins U.K. warehouse, circa 1948
  • Title page of an 1869 Collins atlas, printed for the Scottish School Book Association and featuring Bartholomew maps.
  • Westbow
At the time of its publication in 1972, nothing like Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Flame and the Flower had ever been published. More
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  • Kathleen E. Woodiwiss Author of Shanna. The Flame and the Flower. (Cover)
  • An advertisement for Is Sex Necessary? by James Thurber and E. B. White, published in The New York Times on January 19, 1930.
  • Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin (Original cover)
  • Author Catharine M. Sedgwick (1832).
  • Eloisa James
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.
  • Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik. Pictures bt Maurice Sendak. an I CAN READ book. (Cover)
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • Stuart Little
  • Charlotte’s Web
Collins maintained combined office and warehouse space at Bridewell Place in London for many years, and in 1917, its new London publishing office at 48 Pall Mall was complemented by printing works in Mayfair that included a state-of-the-art bindery, warehouse, and distribution center. More
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  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
  • The Harper “fire” and Collins “water” colophons, which were combined to create today’s “fire and water” HarperCollins logo.
  • HarperCollins Publishers (Since 1817) 200 Years Anniversary Logo
  • HarperCollins Global Publishing (Logo)
  • Queen Elizabeth II visiting the Collins Glasgow offices
Thomas Nelson’s bookshop once sat in a half-timbered storefront at 7 West Bow in Edinburgh, one of many rickety buildings rising precariously from the Z-shaped street like upside-down pyramids. 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
  • HarperCollins Publishers (Since 1817) 200 Years Anniversary Logo
  • The Harper “fire” and Collins “water” colophons, which were combined to create today’s “fire and water” HarperCollins logo.
  • HarperCollins Global Publishing (Logo)
Ten thousand miles from his homeland, Scotsman David Mackenzie Angus paid £50 to open a small bookshop on Market Street in Sydney, Australia. More
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  • Australian author Banjo Paterson, best known for writing “The Man from Snowy River.”
  • HarperCollins Global Publishing (Logo)
  • A&R LTD Logo
  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers
Illustrator Thomas Nast first made his name documenting the Civil War in all its gruesome reality, but he is best known for developing the political cartoon form and our modern depictions of Santa Claus. More
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  • An illustrated cover of Harper’s Weekly just after the outbreak of the Civil War, dated July 20, 1861.
  • Harper's Weekly A Journal of Civilization. New York, Saturday, January 3, 1863
  • An ad promoting all of the Harper periodicals: Harper’s Weekly, Harper’s New Monthly, and Harper’s Bazaar.
  • A snippet of the first installment of Middlemarch by George Eliot, which was serialized in Harper’s Weekly (December 16, 1871).
  • Author Catharine M. Sedgwick (1832).
Mary Anne Evans, born in 1819, led a turbulent life that often broke with Victorian social norms. 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
  • Author Catharine M. Sedgwick (1832).
  • An illustrated cover of Harper’s Weekly just after the outbreak of the Civil War, dated July 20, 1861.
  • The first installment of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens published in Harper’s Weekly.
James Harper went to Europe in 1835 to compile a set of fairy tales for publication, and Harper & Brothers enlisted Joseph A. Adams to make 81 detailed wood-cut engravings for the collection. More
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  • The Hole Bible. According to the authorized version, with the marginal readings and parallel references, printed at Length. (Cover)
  • 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.
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • The Harper “fire” and Collins “water” colophons, which were combined to create today’s “fire and water” HarperCollins logo.
Children’s books explored uncharted territory in the mid-1960s as Harper & Row began to champion boundary-pushing children’s and young adult books. More
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  • Virginia Kirkus.
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Little House on the Prairie
  • Shel Silverstein’s original artwork for a “Union for Children’s Rights” from A Light in the Attic (1981).
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
American inventor Richard Hoe’s 1847 four-cylinder rotary press helped increase printing output tenfold, to 8,000 pages per hour. More
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  • The 1859 license granted to William Collins and Company, giving it permission to print the Bible.
  • Rotary printing press machine
  • HarperCollins Publishers (Since 1817) 200 Years Anniversary Logo
  • An edition of Harper’s Illuminated and New Pictorial Bible from 1846.
  • The logo and address for J. & J. Harper Publishers