Papers of Victor Gollancz Ltd

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Listed material: production books, 1928-1964; correspondence between Dorothy L Sayers and authors, agents and publishers whose stories she sought to include in three volumes of 'Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery and Horror,' 1928-1934. Sayers edited these volumes for Victor Gollancz Ltd.

Unlisted material: includes royalty terms ledgers, contract ledgers, 1927-1972; manuscript entering books, 1956-1989; quotes sheets, and miscellaneous correspondence, including titles turned down, and Livia Gollancz correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

Gollancz established his publishing company, Victor Gollancz Ltd in 1928. The company was based in offices in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London. It was to become one of the most profitable and successful firms in British publishing history. Gollancz had a flair for marketing and the company quickly made an impression with its bright yellow book jackets and London literary parties. Gollancz angered his rivals with his large scale advertising campaigns and whole-page newspaper advertisements, which were unusual for the time.

When Gollancz died, in 1967, his daughter Livia Gollancz took over the company. She sold it to Houghton Mifflin, a Boston based independent publishing company in 1989, in preparation for her retirement. By that time the company was publishing a wide range of both fiction and non fiction books including science fiction, thrillers and children's books.

Houghton Mifflin sold Victor Gollancz to rival publisher Cassell plc in October 1992. The Covent Garden offices in Henrietta Street were vacated and the Gollancz operation moved to Cassell's offices in the Strand, London. It was at this time that the company archives were deposited in the Modern Records Centre. Victor Gollancz Ltd was incorporated into Orion Books in 1998 and is now the science fiction and fantasy imprint of Orion Publishing Group Ltd.

References: Modern Records Centre correspondence files for MSS.157 and MSS.318 and


The Modern Records Centre uses a classification scheme. For further details of the scheme, see It is compatible with ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description (2000).

Conditions Governing Access

Files regarding staff and the Gollancz-Houghton Mifflin sale in 1989 are closed for 30 years.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in the Centre by Cassell plc in November 1992, with the exception of the Livia Gollancz correspondence, which was a gift to the Modern Records Centre by Livia Gollancz..

Other Finding Aids

Production books and Dorothy L Sayers correspondence have been listed to file level. Copies of the catalogues are available in paper format in the Centre's searchroom. Most of the archive is currently unlisted.

An authority record exists for Victor Gollancz (GB 152 AAR0909).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.

Appraisal Information

Listed material has been weeded for duplicates.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

The Modern Records Centre also holds the personal papers of Sir Victor Gollancz. (MSS.157).

The title files, the company's main series of correspondence with authors, were not deposited in the Modern Records Centre. They are understood to have been retained by the current publishing company.

Corporate Names