J.R.R. Tolkien and the Trilogy

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

A Christmas Carol

Dickens’s beloved classic of the meaning of Christmas that has inspired countless adaptations. More

Barometer Rising

The first novel by MacLennan, one of Canada’s most significant novelists of the mid-twentieth century. More

Native Son

Wright’s unsparing reflection on what it means to be black in America. More

The Birth of Perry Mason

Head of William Morrow and Company (later acquired by HarperCollins) since the death of its founder in 1931, Thayer Hobson searched widely for promising new authors, often traveling to Europe in pursuit of his next big title. More

Jane Eyre

Brontë’s masterpiece of Gothic romance; a milestone title in the history of British feminist literature. More

Doctor Zhivago

Collins was the first to publish this epic romantic drama by the Nobel Prize winner in English. More

Stuart Little

White’s beloved classic about a small mouse on a big adventure is a perennial bestseller. More

Herman Melville and Moby-Dick

Harper & Brothers turned down Herman Melville’s first book, Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life, and it was released to strong sales by another publisher. More

Garth Williams, Illustrator

Garth Williams was a little-known but talented young illustrator when he was commissioned by Ursula Nordstrom, head of Harper’s Department of Books for Boys and Girls, to illustrate the classic Stuart Little by E. B. White. More

Ursula Nordstrom

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