Penguin Collection: Eunice Frost Papers

Scope and Content

The collection contains a large amount of correspondence, notes and administrative papers relating to Eunice Frost's work at Penguin and her personal life. Correspondence with persons associated with Penguin continues after her retirement, though it relates more rarely to the company. Work material relates to editing, administration, book series, and publicity and exhibition work undertaken on behalf of Penguin. There are also some individual editorial files.

Administrative / Biographical History

Eunice Frost was born on the 5 November, 1914, and began work for Penguin publishing in 1935 as a secretary. She was swiftly promoted to editor, however, when Allen Lane pushed a stack of books across the desk to her and asked her casually if she liked reading. Her background in literature served her well, and she became Penguin's Chief Acting and Coordinating Editor, a prominent female figure in the male-dominated world of pre-war publishing. She was instrumental in the founding and continuation of several series of Penguin Books, including Penguin Main Series, Penguin Modern Painters, Puffin, Buildings of England, Pelican History of Art, Penguin Classics, Poetry, Music, and Penguin New Writing. In 1941 she spent time in New York City founding an American branch of Penguin. She became the first woman director of Penguin, taking her seat on the board in 1960, and was appointed OBE for services to literature and publishing. She retired in the 1960s due to ill health, and bought a townhouse in Lewes, Sussex. She married Harry Kemp (d.1994), though their marriage was later dissolved. She died in Lewes on the 12 August, 1998.

Access Information

Accessible to all bona fide readers with written permission from Penguin Books, Ltd.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the University of Bristol by the estate of Eunice Frost.

Other Finding Aids

Typescript catalogue available in Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to copy material must be obtained from the University of Bristol Information Services - Special Collections.