The House of Macmillan: a one day symposium

The House of Macmillan: An International Publisher’s Archive

A One-Day Symposium, Friday 24 June 2016 Special Collections, London Road Campus, University of Reading

Fifty years ago this year the University of Reading acquired an archive of about 60,000 letters, the incoming correspondence of the publishers Macmillan & Co. Ltd dating back to 1875. The collection is a residual one. It contains materials left over after 650 volumes of correspondence relating to major authors were selected from the Macmillan archives for sale in 1964-5. These were saved for the nation in 1967, and went to the British Library, where they have been supplemented since with additional deposits. Papers and materials relating to other aspects of the house of Macmillan and its global operations are more widely dispersed. Letters relating to the Macmillan Company of New York are at the Berg Collection, New York Public Library and equivalent collections from the Macmillan Company of Canada are at the library of McMaster University. Letters from Lewis Carroll were sold in 1957, and are now deposited at the Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia. In 1994 the Macmillan Book Trust deposited Harold Macmillan’s private papers and correspondence at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, while his official papers went to the National Archives at Kew.

Each of these stands as an important collection in its own right, and each continues to yield new material to researchers working on the American, British and Canadian book trades, and on the operations of Macmillans in Africa, China and on the Indian subcontinent. Opportunities have arisen, however, to consider the international networks of commerce and culture that connect these archives. In the case of materials located in the United Kingdom, there are questions about what has been gained or lost by the dispersal of previously integrated collections.

House of Macmillan

The House of Macmillan: An International Publisher’s Archive is a one-day symposium run by the Centre for Collections-Based Research at the University of Reading. It takes place on Friday 24 June 2016 at the University of Reading’s Special Collections department on Redlands Road, Reading. It seeks to bring together scholars working on all aspects of Macmillans and the Macmillan archive, with a view to developing collaborative work on the larger history of the collections. The organizers would be delighted to receive proposals for twenty-minute conference papers on any aspect of this subject. The project builds on research published in the 2002 collection Macmillan: A Publishing Tradition, edited by Elizabeth James. That volume included articles on Macmillan’s relations with Matthew Arnold, Thomas Hardy, Margaret Oliphant, Tennyson, W.B. Yeats and Maynard Keynes, and on Macmillan’s enterprises in the Indian subcontinent and America. The conveners of this conference hope to extend that work deeper into the history of Macmillans as a wide-ranging and international publishing house.  See here for more details. 

Abstracts of 250 words max (including name and contact details) should be sent to Dr. Paddy Bullard by Monday 29 February 2016. The symposium is supported by the University of Reading’s Centre for Collections-Based Research . Organizing committee: Dr Paddy Bullard, Dr Andrew Mangham, Alysoun Sanders, Dr David Sutton, Dr Nicola Wilson