A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943), a story about growing up poor in turn-of-the-century Brooklyn, was originally an entry for a Harper & Brothers memoir contest. 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

The Hobbit

In October 1936, Stanley Unwin, chairman of British publishers George Allen & Unwin (later acquired by HarperCollins), received a children’s book submission. More

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

Stuart Little

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

To Kill a Mockingbird

Much-loved Pulitzer Prize–winning classic, voted by librarians across America as the best novel of the twentieth century. More

A Christmas Carol

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

Native Son

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

Bleak House

Dickens’s tenth novel, often considered his finest; significantly influenced the development of mystery novels. More