London Metropolitan Archives - Item Details


Date of Creation:

1825 - 1998

Reference Code:


Scope and Content:
  • Archive of Hodder and Stoughton Limited, publishers; including records of Hodder and Stoughton, 1868-1919, Hodder and Stoughton Limited, 1919- , Matthew Hodder Limited (group holding company), 1959-76, and Hodder and Stoughton Holdings Limited, 1976-. It is a publisher-based, rather than an author-based archive, because the pre-1939 correspondence with authors was apparently destroyed during the Second World War. Its strength lies in the information it provides in aggregate about the multi-faceted business of publishing.

    Of notable importance are the 46 authors' ledgers, 1907-61 (Ms 16312) which detail what was published, including the various editions of the same title, with dates of publication, print runs, production costs, sales, remainders etc. These are supplemented by ten volumes of publishing ledgers, 1886-1938 (Ms 16310), and by smaller groups of royalty ledgers, 1907-12 and 1928-65 (Mss 16318-21), and of profit and loss ledgers, 1954-68 (Mss 16313-17). The ledgers are further supported by considerable quantities of other material, such as company minutes, sales reports, publicity material, and a number of author files for 1939-93 (Mss 16352, 16352A-C). These are rather haphazard, and many in-letters from authors appear to have been removed before deposit at Guildhall Library.

    The archive contains much about the company's premises including many photographs including some of bomb damage in the Paternoster Row and Warwick Square area of the City of London. The archive also contains material about the firm's employees including registers and salaries books, staff handbooks and newsletters, material about company sports days, and photographs.

    There are also records of subsidiary companies as follows:
    Ms 16388: British Weekly Limited;
    Ms 16389-95; 29067-70; 36525-6: Brockhampton Press;
    Ms 29071-8; 29708-13; 36527-30: Edward Arnold Limited;
    Ms 16396-407;29079-80; 36531: English Universities Press Ltd;
    Ms 36532: Highland Books;
    Ms 16408-11: Hodder Fawcett Limited;
    Ms 16412-21: Hodder Paperbacks Limited;
    Ms 16422-4: Hodder Publications Limited;
    Ms 16425-7: Lancet Limited;
    Ms 36533: Lloyd-Luke (Medical Books) Limited;
    Ms 36534-6: New English Library Limited;
    Ms 16428-30: St Hugh's Press;
    Ms 36537: Sceptre;
    Ms 16431-51; 36538: University of London Press;
    Ms 36539: University Park Press;
    Ms 36540: University Press of Liverpool;
    Ms 16452-3: Publishers Association;
    Ms 29714: Hodder and Stoughton (Australia) Proprietary Limited;
    Ms 29715: Hodder and Stoughton (New Zealand) Proprietary Limited.

    The records of the subsidiaries sometimes form distinct series, but are often mixed with those of the parent company. In addition, some original archival groups were altered by the creation of artificial collections by John Attenborough in the course of writing his history (see Mss 16355-7, 16362, 29668-72).

    The records also include some Hodder family documents including genealogical notes and some papers of the Publishers' Association.

    Finally, the archive includes the private correspondence of Sir Ernest Hodder-Williams (chairman of Hodder and Stoughton 1902-27), described as "the greatest publisher of my time" by Sir Newman Flower (Mss 16368-70); and the papers of the last Chairman of the company, Philip Attenborough, who was responsible for depositing much of the later material and played a major role in safeguarding of the future of the archive.
Extent: 1119 production units.
Classification: BUSINESSES
Former Reference: MS 16262-453, 28982-29080, 29579-715, 36499- 542
Site Location: Held offsite - access by appointment only
Level of Description:

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Administrative History:
  • Hodder and Stoughton's importance in publishing history has been well-documented by John Attenborough in "A Living Memory. Hodder and Stoughton, Publishers, 1868-1975" (London, 1975) [a copy of which is held in the Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library].

    The company made a major contribution to the publishing of popular fiction, especially through its famous Yellow Jacket series, as well as being important theological publishers.

    The archives also include papers of some of the firm's subsidiary or associated publishers, such as Edward Arnold Ltd, and the Brockhampton Press; and subsidiary or associated periodicals, such as "The Bookman" and "The British Weekly". The company's fairly complicated administrative history involving these subsidiary and associated companies is described in John Attenborough's history.

    The company's offices were: 27 Paternoster Row, 1868-1906; St Paul's House, Warwick Square, 1906-76; Dunton Green, Kent, 1976-.

    Hodder and Stoughton Limited merged with Headline Book Publishing in 1993 to become Hodder Headline Plc.
Creator: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd | publishers
Custodial History: Some items (Mss 16268, 16345-6A, 16382, 16396 and 16403) have been returned to the Company and are no longer available for research. In addition, seven volumes of J.M. Barrie's author's proofs, marked by him in his own hand, and formerly deposited in the Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library, were withdrawn for sale in October 1998.

It is also clear that some archival material (such as contracts with authors, and artwork for dust jackets) had always been retained by the Company. This material too was sold at auction and its current whereabouts are unknown. Guildhall Library has two catalogues for these sales (Ms 36542), but there were other sales for which no catalogues are held.

In his history of the firm, John Attenborough also notes that some of its archives were destroyed by enemy action in World War II. Despite these gaps, the archive remains substantial.
Copyright: Depositor
Source of Acquisition:
  • The original deposit of records in the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library was made by the company on 8/10/75. Additional deposits were made on 11/12/75; 6, 7, 15, 20 and 30/1/76; 5/2/76; 14/6/76; 18 and 25/10/76; 23/1/77; 12/1/78; 8/2/78; 27/2/79; 10/4/79; 5/6/97; 14/8/79; 15/4/80; 6/6/80; 10/7/80; 1/9/80; 6 and 31/10/80; 2/12/80; 27/1/81; 10, 12, 20 and 24/2/81; 21/4/81; 8/3/91; 12/6/91; 21/5/93; 30/3/1994; 19/7/01 and 19/9/01. The entire collection was purchased by Guildhall Library in October 2001 (Purchased with the aid of the V&A Purchase Grant Fund The Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.
  • 1980/043
  • 1981/003
  • 1981/010
  • 1981/012
  • 1975/049
  • 1975/053
  • 1976/001
  • 1976/002
  • 1976/004
  • 1976/007
  • 1976/012
  • 1976/014
  • 1976/027
  • 1976/045
  • 1976/046
  • 1991/023
  • 1993/027
  • 1977/007
  • 1979/016
  • 1979/022A
  • 1978/005
  • 1978/010
  • 1979/034
  • 1979/053
  • 1994/020
Access Restrictions: These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions Access by appointment only. Please contact staff
Arrangement: Records arranged by MS number, assigned during cataloguing at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section.