Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd Archives

Scope and Content

Series A (the first deposit):

Records, 1850-1984, of Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd and its predecessors: Records of George Routledge & Co comprise six Publication Books, 1850-1902, with imperfect indexes; ten Publishing Journals, 1902-1948, containing publishing details of books first published between 1902 and 1930, including details of subsequent editions, and all containing letters and notes referring to the publications list; five volumes of contracts, 1853-1899; four Wage Books, 1869-1946, two of them indexed; 'Book of the Year 1897', described as a chronicle of the times and a record of events, mainly comprising letters of thanks to Edmund Routledge from or on behalf of recipients of his new work of that name, including the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), Lord Salisbury, and the Archbishop of Canterbury (Frederick Temple), and also including copies of a 'Sketch' interview with Routledge, 1898, with a photograph of him; volume of miscellaneous sales extracts, 1898-1905; four Indexes, 1904-1914, giving a secondary arrangement of reprints of works according to their series or library. Records of J C Nimmo Ltd comprise a folder of contracts with related correspondence, 1889-1904; notes assessing the value of bookstock near the time of the merger with Routledge, c1904. Records of Nicholas Trbner comprise five Publication Books, 1851-1897; eight Publication Account Books, 1854-1893. Records of Henry S King, continued in use under Kegan Paul, Trench & Co, and of Kegan Paul, Trench, Trbner & Co Ltd comprise nine Publication Books, 1871-1912; seven Publication Account Books, 1877-1883; three Publication Ledgers: Royalty and Commission Accounts, 1882-1893, 1896-1932, indexed; three undated Indexes to the Publication and Publication Account Books, two arranged by author, one by title; contracts with authors, 1871-1911, arranged alphabetically; 36 Publication Account Books to various categories of publications, 1883-1914; nine Print and Paper books, 1882-1915, indexed; two Sheet Stock & Binding Books, 1890-1907, indexed. Records of Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd comprise 59 Stock Books, 1902-1948, including ten annual Commission Stock Books, 1912-1922; five Quire Stock Books, 1902-1937; ten Royalty Accounts, 1906-1939; two undated General Indexes; 13 volumes of Trade Accounts, giving details of business with British and foreign booksellers, 1933-1952; one volume of Bills Receivable, 1951; one Petty Cash book, 1953-1963; one box of Keyser & Co Account Books, 1928-1958; four boxes of book reviews, 1934-1956; one file of dividend warrants, 1950-1952; one box of miscellaneous catalogues, 1964-1973; nine boxes of undated prospectuses; one file of Louise Heilger's Course in Letter-writing, an undated manuscript; three packets of undated photographic plates. Printed catalogues to published works, partial before 1912 but almost complete thereafter, comprise 41 volumes for George Routledge & Co, 1852-1909; seven volumes for Kegan Paul, Trench, Trbner & Co, c1877-1910; three volumes for Nicholas Trbner [1869], 1882, 1888; 57 volumes for Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1912-1973. The records include no copybooks of general correspondence nor letters from authors except those attached to contracts.

Series B (the second deposit):

Further records of Routledge & Kegan Paul, dating mainly from the 20th century, include minutes of Directors' meetings, 1902-1953 (6 volumes); register of members from 1905 (1 volume); typescript volumes recording dates of publication, 1900s-1960s (11 volumes); two card indexes with details of titles, 1950s-1970s; minutes of editorial meetings, 1979-1983 (1 file); printed flyers for books (1 box); book reviews, 1930s-1940s (1 box); papers relating to exhibitions, 1968-1970 (1 file); typescript minutes of sales seminars, 1977-1980 (1 file); typescript company newsletters, 1974-1983 (1 file); files relating to accounts and agents, largely dating from the 1970s (3 boxes); American correspondence, 1960s (4 boxes); correspondence, including sales, 1960s-1970s (3 boxes); financial records including royalty statements, 1970s (13 boxes); two sequences of royalty accounts, to the 1970s (37 boxes); files of correspondence on authors' royalties, 1970s (4 boxes); files on foreign royalties, 1970s (3 boxes). "Historical documents" (3 boxes) comprise miscellaneous papers relating to the history of the company, including various contracts relating to company business, 1878-1903, and 20th-century staff contracts and agreements relating to premises; a register of seals, 1902-1946; cuttings on the history of the company, 1888-1951, including obituaries of founders of the constituent companies; a printing block for a diagram of the company structure. Financial records include ledgers, journals, payroll and accounts.

Administrative / Biographical History

George Routledge set up in business as a retail bookseller with his brother-in-law W H Warne as assistant, and in 1836 published his first (unsuccessful) book, 'The Beauties of Gilsand' (a guidebook), moving to no 36 Soho Square in 1843. W H Warne was taken into partnership and the 'Railway Library' of cheap reprints of works of fiction begun in 1848. Frederick Warne, W H Warne's brother, was taken into partnership and the firm of George Routledge and Co was founded in 1851, removing to no 2 Farringdon Street in 1852, when the firm published 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. Founded on the success of cheap editions of works of fiction, the firm rapidly expanded into the reprint market, catering for the growing literate population of the Victorian age. Routledge and Co opened a New York branch in 1854.Robert Warne Routledge, George Routledge's son, entered the partnership in 1858 and the firm was restyled Routledge, Warne & Routledge. W H Warne died in 1859. In 1862 'Every Boy's Magazine', edited by Edmund Routledge (George Routledge's son), was started. The firm entered a contract with Lord Tennyson in 1863. Frederick Warne left the firm, Edmund Routledge became a partner, and the firm was renamed George Routledge and Sons, removing to no 7 The Broadway, Ludgate, in 1865. Routledge and Sons' publications included Kate Greenaway's 'Under the Window ' (1878), her first 'Almanack' (1883), and 'Morley's Universal Library' (1883). George Routledge died in 1888. Routledge and Sons was reconstructed under Arthur E Franklin of Keyser & Co banking house, in collaboration with William Sonnenschein and Laurie Magnus, in 1902.

The firm of J C Nimmo Ltd, founded in 1879 by John C Nimmo (d 1899) and publisher of fine scholarly editions, was taken over by Routledge & Sons in 1903. Cecil A Franklin, son of Arthur Franklin, entered Routledge & Sons in 1906.

The firm of H S King & Co was formed in 1868 and Henry S King introduced the 'International Scientific Series' in 1871. His business was purchased by Charles Kegan Paul (King's literary adviser since 1874) in 1877, when Alfred Trench joined as a partner.

Kegan Paul, Trench and Co, formed in 1878, continued to publish the list begun by King, who died in 1879. Kegan Paul published R L Stevenson's 'An Inland Voyage' (1878), signed up George Meredith in 1879, and published Sir James Knowles's '19th Century Review' the same year, its other publications including Henry George's 'Progress and Poverty' (1880), 'Last Journals of General Gordon' (1885), and 'The Silence of Dean Maitland' by Maxwell Gray (Miss Tuttiett).

Nicholas Trbner started his business in 1851, its publications including 'Bibliographical Guide to American Literature' (1855), the Record' (started in 1865), Samuel Butler's 'Erewhon' (1872), the Oriental Series (started in 1872), 'Catalogue of Dictionaries and Grammars of the Principal Languages of the World' (1872), and Sir Edwin Arnold's 'Light of Asia' (1879). Trbner died in 1884 and in 1889 Messrs Trbner & Co and also George Redway joined Kegan Paul, Trench & Co, amalgamated and converted by Horatio Bottomley into Kegan Paul, Trench, Trbner & Co Ltd, although Alfred Trench fell ill and resigned that same year. The firm removed to Paternoster House, Charing Cross Road, in 1891. In 1895 Kegan Paul's profits fell and its directors resigned, whereupon Arthur Waugh took over management of the firm. Charles Kegan Paul retired in 1899 and died in 1902.

Kegan Paul, Trench, Trbner & Co were incorporated with Routledge and Sons to form Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd, with Cecil Franklin and Sir William Crookes among the directors, in 1912.


The original deposit and the Publishing Journals received in 1988 are arranged according to the firm which administered them and comprise the following sections: George Routledge and Co (Ref: 1-17); J C Nimmo Ltd (Ref: 18-23); Routledge & Kegan Paul 1913-1948 (Ref: 24-99); Nicholas Trbner (Ref: 100-113); Henry S King (Ref: 114-135); Kegan Paul, Trench, Trbner & Co (Ref: 136-206); Routledge & Kegan Paul 1948-1973 (Ref: 282-326). They include Printed Catalogues for George Routledge and Co (Ref: 207-247), Kegan Paul (Ref: 248-254), Nicholas Trbner (Ref: 113), and Routledge and Kegan Paul (Ref: 255-326). The later, uncatalogued, deposit, is as received by University College London.

Access Information

Certain restrictions apply

The original deposit and the Publishing Journals are open, although some Printed Catalogues (details of which are available at University College London Special Collections) were temporarily returned to the owning company in 1996. The second deposit is restricted, pending cataloguing.

Acquisition Information

The archives were deposited by Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd on permanent loan in 1975. Ten Publishing Journals were deposited by Routledge in 1988. Further records were transferred from Reading University Library in 1988.

Other Finding Aids

A file list for the collection is available on the online catalogue.

The first deposit is described in Gillian Furlong, 'The Archives of Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd (1853-1973): a handlist' (The Library, University College London, Occasional Publication no 6, 1978). Besides listing the papers, this includes an outline history of the firms; appendices providing detailed lists of the Kegan Paul, Trench, Trbner & Co Ltd Publication Account Books (Appendix I) and of the firms' Printed Catalogues (Appendix II); and a concordance of the archival references to the index of the microfilm publication of parts of the archives (Appendix III). Further descriptive detail is inserted in the copy of the handlist at University College London Special Collections, including a list of the Publishing Journals. The second deposit (almost half of the papers) is not fully catalogued and only a summary list exists.

Early groups in the archive (items 1-11, 13-15, 100-206, totalling 33 reels) have been microfilmed by Chadwyck-Healey Ltd in their series on the history of publishing and the book trade. Copies are available at the British Library, catalogue no Mic B 53/28-33 (George Routledge & Co, 1853-1902) and B 53/71-99 (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trbner & Henry S King), with an introduction by Brian Maidment. See Sandy Merritt, Index of Authors and Titles: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trbner & Henry S King 1858-1912 (Chadwyck-Healey Ltd, Bishops Stortford, 1974), compiled from and giving references to the microfilm copy.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The Book of the Year 1897 (Ref: 12b) is in a fragile condition.

Conditions Governing Use

Readers wishing to publish or quote from the records should refer to Routledge (now part of the Taylor & Francis Group).

Custodial History

The usual form of record-keeping used by all the firms was that of a dual series of files called Publication Books and Publication Account Books. Publication Books, giving details of print orders, binding orders, paper cost, reprinting cost and advertising, are arranged by the title of the work produced and the date of the first edition, with subsequent editions on the same page until the page was filled, when a new entry was begun further on. Publication Account Books give a detailed profit and loss account of each new volume published and their arrangement follows the pattern of the Publication Books. Confidential stock books from 1948 are retained by Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd. Correspondence once held at University College London was transferred to Reading University Library in 1988.

Related Material

Reading University Library holds records of Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1935-1990, including correspondence (Ref: MS 1489), which complements the material at University College London. Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections, Palace Green Section, holds George Routledge's letters to Lord Carlisle, 1879-1885 (Ref: II 25,27). Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies holds his letters to Lord Lytton, 1853-1871 (Ref: D/EK). Cambridge University, King's College Archive Centre, holds 129 letters from Charles Kegan Paul and his firm to Oscar Browning, 1860-1911 (Ref: OB). Cambridge University, Trinity College Library, holds 23 letters from Kegan Paul to Henry Sidgwick, 1865-1900 (Ref: Add Ms c95/4-26).