Little, Brown and Company

Little, Brown and Company
Little, Brown and Company
Little, Brown and Company
Parent company Hachette Book Group USA
Founded 1837
Founder Charles Coffin Little, James Brown
Country of origin United States, United Kingdom
Headquarters location New York City
Imprints Back Bay, Poppy, Megan Tingley, Mulholland, Reagan Arthur
Official website (US) (UK)

Little, Brown and Company is a publishing house established by Charles Coffin Little and his partner, James Brown. Since 2006 it has been a constituent unit of Hachette Book Group USA.


19th century

The firm initially specialized in legal treatises and imported titles. For many years, it was the most extensive law publisher in the United States, and also the largest importer of standard English law and miscellaneous works, introducing American buyers to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the dictionaries of William Smith, and many other standard works.[1] Even so, in the early years Little and Brown published the Works of Daniel Webster, George Bancroft's History of the United States, William H. Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella, Jones Very's first book of poetry (edited by Ralph Waldo Emerson), Letters of John Adams and works by James Russell Lowell and Francis Parkman.

The firm was the original publisher of United States Statutes at Large beginning in 1845, under authority granted by a joint resolution of Congress. In 1874, Congress transferred the authority to publish the Statutes at Large to the Government Printing Office, which has been responsible for producing the set since that time.[2] In 1853, Little, Brown began publishing the works of British poets from Chaucer to Wordsworth. Ninety-six volumes were published in the series in five years.

In 1859, John Bartlett became a partner in the firm. He held the rights to his Familiar Quotations, and Little, Brown published the 15th edition of the work in 1980, 125 years after its first publication. John Murray Brown, James Brown's son, took over when Augustus Flagg retired in 1884. In the 1890s, Little, Brown expanded into general publishing, including fiction. In 1896, it published Quo Vadis. In 1898, Little, Brown purchased a list of titles from the Roberts Brothers firm.

20th century

John Murray Brown died in 1908 and James W. McIntyre became managing partner. When McIntyre died in 1913, Little, Brown incorporated. In 1925, Little, Brown entered into an agreement to publish all Atlantic Monthly books. This arrangement lasted until 1985. During this time the joint Atlantic Monthly Press/Little Brown imprint published James Truslow Adams's The Adams Family, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall's Mutiny on the Bounty and its sequels, James Hilton's Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Walter D. Edmonds's Drums Along the Mohawk, William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways, Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine, and J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger later terminated his contract with the publishing house sometime in the 1970s, though his novel was still published by Little, Brown.

Other prominent figures published by Little, Brown in the 20th and early 21st centuries have included Nagaru Tanigawa, Donald Barthelme, Louisa M. Alcott, Catherine Drinker Bowen, Bernie Brillstein, Thornton Burgess, Hortense Calisher, Bruce Catton, A. J. Cronin, Peter De Vries, J. Frank Dobie, C. S. Forester, John Fowles, Malcolm Gladwell, Pete Hamill, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Lillian Hellman, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Henry Kissinger, Elizabeth Kostova, Norman Mailer, William Manchester, Nelson Mandela, John P. Marquand, Masters and Johnson, Stephenie Meyer, Rick Moody, Ogden Nash, Edwin O'Connor, Erich Maria Remarque, Alice Sebold, David Sedaris, George Stephanopoulos, Gore Vidal, David Foster Wallace, Evelyn Waugh, P. G. Wodehouse, James Patterson and Herman Wouk. Little, Brown also published the photography of Ansel Adams.

The imprint was purchased by Time Inc. in 1968, and was made part of the Time Warner Book Group when Time merged with Warner Communications to form Time Warner in 1989.

Little, Brown expanded into the UK in 1992 when TWBG bought MacDonald & Co from Maxwell Communications, taking on its Abacus (upmarket paperback) and Orbit (science fiction) lists, and authors including Iain Banks. Feminist publisher Virago Press followed in 1996. Also in 1996, Wolters Kluwer acquired Little, Brown's professional division and incorporated it into its Aspen and Lippincott-Raven imprints.

21st century

In 2006, the Time Warner Book Group was sold to French publisher Hachette Livre; the Little, Brown imprint is now used by Hachette Livre's U.S. publishing company, Hachette Book Group USA.

In May 2006, the publishing company received some brief bad publicity over plagiarism allegations levied against Kaavya Viswanathan for her novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life.[3]


  • Oliver, Bill (1986) Little, Brown and Company, in Peter Dzwonkonski, Ed. Dictionary of Literary Biography - Volume Forty-nine - American Literary Publishing Houses, 1638 - 1899 Part 1: A-M. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Company. ISBN 0-8103-1727-3
  1. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Little, Charles Coffin". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1892. 
  2. ^ Statutes at Large Homepage: United States Congressional Documents.[1]
  3. ^ Rich,Motoko. "Publisher to Recall Harvard Student's Novel" Published: April 28, 2006.[2]

See also

External links

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