Smith, Elder, and Co.

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The publishing firm of Smith, Elder, and Co. was founded in 1816 by George Smith (1789-1846) in partnership with Alexander Elder. In 1843, Smith's son, George Smith (1824-1901), took over much of the firm's operations, and, upon the death of his father in 1846, became sole head of the company. Smith lived in London with his mother, Elizabeth Murray Smith (1797-1878), until 1854, when he married Elizabeth Blakeway. They had two sons and three daughters.

Smith, Elder, and Co. prospered under George Smith's leadership. Early in his tenure, the firm published works by John Ruskin, Charlotte Bronte ( Jane Eyre in 1848), and William Makepeace Thackeray ( Esmond in 1851). In 1859, Smith started The Cornhill Magazine with Thackeray as editor; in 1865, The Pall Mall Gazette, an evening newspaper with literary leanings, began publication. Both the magazine and the newspaper attracted contributions from leading writers and artists.

In his later years, Smith's chief authors were Robert Browning, Matthew Arnold, and Leslie Stephen, all of whom were close personal friends. Smith was also the founder, in 1882, of the Dictionary of National Biography .

In 1894, Reginald J. Smith, husband of George Smith's youngest daughter, joined Smith, Elder, and Co., and, in 1899, became sole head.

From the guide to the Smith, Elder, and Co. Records, 1850-1923, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Rare Book Literary and Historical Papers.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Haydon, Benjamin Robert, 1786-1846. Letter : King's Bench Prison, to Messrs. Smith and Elder, Cornhill, [18--]. Bryn Mawr College, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library
referencedIn Boswell's Life of Johnson : including Boswell's Journal of a tour to the Hebrides and Johnson's Diary of a journey into North Wales, edited by George Birkbeck Hill, extra-illustrated, 1464-1897 (inclusive), 1724-1874 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Webbe, Cornelius. Letter : London, to Messrs. Smith and Elder, London, 1841 Feb. 1. Bryn Mawr College, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library
creatorOf Smith, Elder, and Co. Smith, Elder, and Co. records, 1850-1923 [manuscript]. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Business Correspondence of Smith, Elder, and Co., 1850-1908 Princeton University. Library. Dept. of Rare Books and Special CollectionsManuscripts Division
referencedIn Arnold, Edwin, Sir, 1832-1904. Sir Edwin Arnold letters, 1861. Princeton University Library
creatorOf Symonds, John Addington, 1840-1893. Autograph letter signed : Davos-Platz, to Smith, Elder, and Co., 1881 Aug. 6. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Collins, Wilkie, 1824-1889. Autograph letter signed with initials : London, to his mother, Harriet Collins, 1863 July 2. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Collins, Wilkie, 1824-1889. Autograph letter : Whitby, to his mother, Harriet Collins, 1861 Aug. 7. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Collins, Wilkie, 1824-1889. Autograph letter signed : Whitby, to Charles Ward, 1861 Aug. 22. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Webbe, Cornelius. Letter : to [Smith, Elder, and Co.] [1836?]. Bryn Mawr College, Mariam Coffin Canaday Library
creatorOf Jerdan, William, 1782-1869. Letter, 1830, November 9, Grove House, Brompton, to [Messrs. Smith & Elder]. University of South Carolina, University Libraries
referencedIn Johnsonian Miscellanies, extra-illustrated, 1538-1900 (inclusive);, 1738-1866 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Symonds, John Addington, 1840-1893. Letters of John Addington Symonds [manuscript], 1878-1881. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Edward FitzGerald collection, 1863-1883 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Smith, Elder, and Co. Records, 1850-1923 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Rare Book Literary and Historical Papers.
creatorOf Symonds, John Addington, 1840-1893. Autograph letters signed (9), autograph postal cards signed (2) : Clifton, Bristol and Davos Platz, Switzerland, to George Smith and Smith, Elder & Co., 1872 Mar. 14-1884 Nov. 28. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Letters of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., collected and edited by George Birkbeck Hill, extra-illustrated, 1413-1900 (inclusive), 1775-1839 (bulk). Houghton Library
creatorOf Symonds, John Addington, 1840-1893. John Addington Symonds letters and poem, 1859-1884. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Palfrey Family of New England. Palfrey family papers. 1713-1915. Houghton Library
creatorOf Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir, 1859-1930. Ms. of "The White Company" [manuscript] / by A. Conan Doyle ; "Cornhill magazine" January-December 1891 and 3 volumes 1891. Newberry Library
creatorOf Collins, Wilkie, 1824-1889. Autograph letter signed with initials : London, to his mother, Harriet Collins, 1861 July 31. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Ward, Humphry, Mrs., 1851-1920. Mrs. Humphry Ward papers, 1863-1919. The Claremont Colleges, Claremont University Consortium
referencedIn FitzGerald, Edward, 1809-1883. Edward FitzGerald collection, 1863-1883. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Brontë family. Correspondence and literary manuscripts of, or relating to members of the Brontë family. University of Leeds, Brotherton Library, Leeds University Library
referencedIn FitzGerald, Edward, 1809-1883. Edward FitzGerald collection, 1863-1883. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Collins, Wilkie, 1824-1889. Autograph letter signed with initials : London, to his mother, Harriet Collins, 1867 Sept. 12. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Correspondence and literary manuscripts of, or relating to, members of the Bronté family, 1812-1925 Leeds University Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Arnold, Edwin, Sir, 1832-1904 person
associatedWith Boswell, James, 1740-1795 person
associatedWith Brontë family. family
associatedWith Bronté Family family
associatedWith Browning, Robert, 1812-1889. person
associatedWith Burton, Frederic William, 1816-1900. person
associatedWith Collins, Wilkie, 1824-1889. person
associatedWith Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870. person
associatedWith Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir, 1859-1930. person
associatedWith FitzGerald, Edward, 1809-1883. person
associatedWith Hardy, Thomas, 1840-1928. person
associatedWith Haydon, Benjamin Robert, 1786-1846. person
associatedWith Hill, George Birkbeck Norman, 1835-1903 person
associatedWith Hunt, Leigh, 1784-1859. person
associatedWith James, Henry, 1843-1916. person
associatedWith Jerdan, William, 1782-1869. person
associatedWith Johnson, Samuel, 1709-1784 person
associatedWith Nightingale, Florence, 1820-1910. person
correspondedWith Palfrey family. family
associatedWith Ruskin, John, 1819-1900. person
associatedWith Ruskin, John James. person
associatedWith Smith, Elizabeth Blakeway. person
associatedWith Smith, Elizabeth Murray, 1797-1878. person
associatedWith Smith, George, 1824-1901. person
associatedWith Symonds, John Addington, 1840-1893. person
associatedWith Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson, Baron, 1809-1892. person
correspondedWith Ward, Humphry, Mrs., 1851-1920. person
associatedWith Webbe, Cornelius. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
England
Subject
Authors, English--Autographs
Authors, English--Social life and customs
Publishers and publishing--History
Occupation
Function

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