Darton & Harvey archive

Scope and Content

The collection consists of copyright receipts and agreements, with related correspondence, covering the period 1791-1847. The correspondence is from or relates to several authors including Priscilla Wakefield, Ann Knight, Lindley Murray and Catherine Parr Strickland, later Traill.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1787, the Quaker William Darton (1755-1819) began business as a printer, engraver and book publisher in London under his own name or as W. Darton & Co. Moving to premises at 55 Gracechurch Street in 1788, in 1791 he began a partnership with another Quaker, Joseph Harvey (1764-1841), setting up the firm of Darton & Harvey. They published a selection of Quaker works but also, following the path charted by pioneer children's book publisher John Newbery, made a specialty of books for children, written by Quakers and others, and by the early 1800s the family firm was the established leader in the field.

When Samuel Gurney Darton (1785-1840), William's 3rd son, joined the firm in 1810 the name was changed to Darton, Harvey & Darton, then on William's death in 1819 it changed again to Harvey & Darton. Joseph Harvey retired in 1834 and his place was taken by his son Robert Harvey (1805-1867), necessitating another change of name, this time back to Darton & Harvey, but when Samuel retired in his turn in 1838 in favour of his son Thomas Gates Darton (1810-1887), the firm was once more called Harvey & Darton. The name did not change again when Thomas Gates Darton left Robert Harvey to run the firm alone in 1841 and the imprint was still used occasionally even after the business was sold to Robert Yorke Clarke in 1847 until it closed in 1852.


The papers are bound chronologically

Access Information

Access conditions: Open to all researchers. No reader's ticket is required but an appointment is necessary. Check www.reading.ac.uk/special-collections/using/sc-using.asp for contact details and opening hours.

Acquisition Information

Gift from Gower Publishing Co. Ltd., 1986


This description was written by Gil Skidmore with reference to Appendix 2 in Children's books in England by F.J. Harvey Darton, 3rd ed., Cambridge, 1982

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