A. P. Watt and Son

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A. P. Watt and Son is a British literary agency. It was founded in 1875 by Alexander Pollock Watt.

From the guide to the A. P. Watt and Son records, 1861-1971, 1880-1949, (The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.)

A. P. Watt and Son is a British literary agency. It was founded in 1875 by Alexander Pollock Watt.

From the description of Records, 1861-1971 bulk (1880-1949). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122579875

A.P. Watt the world's first literary agency and was the largest for its first thirty years of operation. Alexander Pollock Watt (1834-1914) began working as a literary agent in 1975 when a friend asked him to negotiate a contract with a London publishing company. By 1881, A.P. Watt had incorporated his business and begun to define the role of the literary agent. The A.P. Watt firm has remained in the forefront of the market in popular fiction and it has counted numerous important and/or best-selling authors among its clients.

From the description of A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors A-B). WorldCat record id: 31966236

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Founded in 1875 by Alexander Pollock Watt (1834-1914), A. P. Watt is the longest-established literary agency in the world. It is also one of the most dynamic and successful. The literary estates this agency represents include those of some of the foremost British and Irish writers of the 20th Century. Its current authors include leading novelists, biographers, historians, and specialist writers pre-eminent in their field. The agency also represents some outstanding children's authors and illustrators, and, in its film and television department, a select number of screenwriters and directors. A. P. Watt's clients include a Nobel Prize winner, four Booker Prize winners, three Orange Prize winners, several Whitbread Prize winners, and the first Children's Laureate. Its writers have achieved some outstanding No 1 bestsellers, several long-running television series, and three of Hollywood's top box office successes.

From the guide to the A. P. Watt & Son, 1883-1917., (Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library, )

A.P. Watt was the world's first literary agency and was the largest for its first thirty years of operation. Alexander Pollock Watt (1834-1914) began working as a literary agent in 1975 when a friend asked him to negotiate a contract with a London publishing company. By 1881, A.P. Watt had incorporated his business and begun to define the role of the literary agent. The A.P. Watt firm has remained in the forefront of the market in popular fiction and it has counted numerous important and/or best-selling authors among its clients.

From the description of A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors T-Z). WorldCat record id: 31966232

From the description of A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors Le-M). WorldCat record id: 31966247

From the description of A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors H-Le). WorldCat record id: 31966241

From the description of A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors C-G). WorldCat record id: 31966252

From the description of A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982. WorldCat record id: 31966229

From the description of A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors N-S). WorldCat record id: 31966250

Founded in 1875 by Alexander Pollock Watt (1834-1914), A.P. Watt is the longest-established literary agency in the world. It is also one of the most dynamic and successful.

The literary estates this agency represents include those of some of the foremost British and Irish writers of the 20th Century. Its current authors include leading novelists, biographers, historians, and specialist writers pre-eminent in their field. The agency also represents some outstanding children's authors and illustrators, and, in its film and television department, a select number of screenwriters and directors. A.P. Watt's clients include a Nobel Prize winner, four Booker Prize winners, three Orange Prize winners, several Whitbread Prize winners, and the first Children's Laureate. Its writers have achieved some outstanding No 1 bestsellers, several long-running television series, and three of Hollywood's top box office successes.

From the description of A.P. Watt & Son correspondence, 1883-1917. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 299029251

In 1871, Alexander Pollock (A. P.) Watt (1834-1914) moved from Glasgow to London to work as a reader for Alexander Strahan's publishing company. By 1876, Watt was promoted to partner in the recently incorporated Strahan & Co., and, by 1878, he was operating as an advertising agent selling advertising space in Strahan's stable of periodicals. Through his experiences at Strahan & Co., Watt became acquainted with many of the leading authors of his day, such as Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy, and Rudyard Kipling, all of whom later became his clients.

Around 1875, A. P. Watt began looking after the business interests of his friend, George MacDonald. Initially, Watt helped MacDonald negotiate contracts with publishing companies for free. However, Watt soon saw the commercial possibilities of representing authors in the sale or lease of copyrights. In 1881, Watt advertised himself as a literary, as well as an advertising agent.

By late 1881, A. P. Watt incorporated his business, creating A. P. Watt & Co., the world's first literary agency. Without existing guidelines, Watt had to determine the manner of operation and the amount he should be paid for his services. Watt settled on the commission system he had employed as an advertising agent. By charging a ten percent fee on the monies that his clients earned, Watt established the basic rate that is still used today. For more than thirty years, Watt dominated the field as he continued to define the role of the literary agent. Shortly before A. P. Watt's death in 1914, he wrote:

The work of the Literary Agency is to conduct all business arrangements of every kind for authors and playwrights; that is to say, to place Manuscripts to the best advantage; to watch for openings; to sell copyrights either absolutely or for a limited period; to collect royalties, and to receive other moneys due; to transfer property; to value literary property; to obtain opinions on Manuscripts, etc., etc.

After the elder Watt's death, his son, A. S. Watt, took over the literary agency. A. S. Watt then passed the company on to his three sons: Hansard, William, and Peter. A. P. Watt's son and grandsons continued to attract important and/or best-selling authors to the agency, among them Pearl Buck, G. K. Chesterton, Robert Graves, W. Somerset Maugham, Rafael Sabatini, Alan Sillitoe, Nevil Shute, Mark Twain, H. G. Wells, P. G. Wodehouse, and William Butler Yeats.

In 1965, Peter Watt died and A. P. Watt & Sons ceased to be a family-run business. It did, however, continue to operate in London. In a 1975 article celebrating A. P. Watt & Sons's centenary, Hilary Rubinstein, the firm's head, observed:

For many writers these days, the agent is one fixed point on the compass. Whether A. P. Watt & Son itself will survive to celebrate its bicentenary in 2075, it seems probable that the service which A. P. Watt began to render to authors a hundred years ago will be increasingly in demand in the years ahead.

Adapted from information in: Gillies, Mary Ann, A. P. Watt, Literary Agent, Publishing Research Quarterly, vol. 9 (Spring 1993), pp. 20-33. Rubinstein, Hilary, A. P. Watt: the First Hundred Years, The Bookseller (May 3, 1975), pp. 2354-2358.

From the guide to the A.P. Watt Records, 1888-1982, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Rare Book Literary and Historical Papers.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn G K Chesterton Papers, 1877-1988 British Library: Western Manuscripts
referencedIn Vol. IX (ff. i + 404). 4 Jan.-31 Dec. 1895.Henry Festing Jones, author and composer: Correspondence with S. Butler: 1878-1902.Alfred Emery Cathie, assistant of Samuel Butler: Correspondence with S. Butler and H. F. Jones: 1888-1902.includes:ff. 2-8 ... British Library
referencedIn H. G. Wells collection of papers, 1892-1952, 1896-1939 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Henry James collection of papers, 1867]-1917, 1882-1917 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf VOL. XXV B (ff. 167). July-Dec. 1935.Dorothy Edith Collins, secretary to G K Chesterton: Correspondence with A. P. Watt and Son (literary agents) regarding the publication, etc., of the works of G. K. Chesterton of Dorothy Edith Collins: 1928-1982: P... British Library
referencedIn G. K. CHESTERTON PAPERS. VOL. XLIII. Account book of royalties received from Messrs A. P. Watt and Son; 1964-1978. Compiled by and in the hand of Dorothy Collins.ff. 141. 320 x 200mm.Accounts: A. P Watt and Son; literary agents: Dorothy Edith Collins..., 1964-1978 British Library
creatorOf Haggard, H. Rider (Henry Rider), 1856-1925. Henry Rider Haggard collection of papers, 1884-1920 bulk (1885-1915). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Shorter, Clement King, 1857-1926. Clement King Shorter collection of papers, 1853-1926 bulk (1889-1926). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Strachey/Holroyd Papers. Vol. lvii (ff. 249). Correspondence, papers and reports of Strachey Trust members, principally Michael Holroyd, and of David C. Sutton, senior research officer of the project, relating to the project ‘Writers and their Cop..., 1991-2000 British Library
referencedIn J.M. Dent & Sons. J.M. Dent & Sons records, 1834-1986 (company files). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Charles Dickens collection of papers, 1833]-[1975, 1833-1909 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Wilkie Collins collection of papers, 1849-1890 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf VOL. XVIII (ff. 266). 1927.Frances Alice Chesterton, née Blogg; wife of G K Chesterton: Correspondence with A. P. Watt and Son (literary agents) regarding publication, etc., of the works of G. K. Chesterton of Frances Alice Chesterton: 1907-1938: Sig..., 1927 British Library
creatorOf VOL. XXVII (ff. 299). 1937.Dorothy Edith Collins, secretary to G K Chesterton: Correspondence with A. P. Watt and Son (literary agents) regarding the publication, etc., of the works of G. K. Chesterton of Dorothy Edith Collins: 1928-1982: Partly sign..., 1937 British Library
creatorOf Wallace, Edgar, 1875-1932. Edgar Wallace collection of papers, 1904-1928. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir, 1859-1930. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle collection of papers, 1881-1944. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors N-S). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Oscar Wilde collection of papers, 1880]-1932 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Strachey/Holroyd Papers. Vol. liv (ff. 255). 1. ff. 1-96. General correspondence of the Strachey Trust from its proposal and foundation; 1969-2001. Includes correspondence with the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art.2. ff. 97-183. ..., 1969-2001 British Library
referencedIn Ezra Pound collection of papers, 1898-1986, 1914-1959 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Jerome, Jerome K.q(Jerome Klapka),d1859-1927. Jerome Klapka Jerome collection of papers,f1892-1926. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf A. P. Watt and Son records, 1861-1971, 1880-1949 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Bret Harte collection of papers, 1860-1929 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Jack London collection of papers, 1900-1948 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Hardy, Thomas, 1840-1928. Thomas Hardy collection of papers, 1870-1964 bulk (1870-1928). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Strachey/Holroyd Papers. Vol. xlvi (ff. 252). Correspondence relating to Michael Holroyd’s editing and writing prefaces to other works by Lytton Strachey; 1968-2001. Includes correspondence on the anthologies edited by Michael Holroyd, The Shorter..., 1968-2001 British Library
creatorOf Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith), 1874-1936. Gilbert Keith Chesterton collection of papers, [1895?]-1935. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Sir Winston Churchill collection of papers, 1898?]-1954, 1910-1954 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors C-G). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
referencedIn Vol.. VIII (ff. i+393). 7 Feb. 1892-24 Dec. 1894.Henry Festing Jones, author and composer: Correspondence with S. Butler: 1878-1902.Alfred Emery Cathie, assistant of Samuel Butler: Correspondence with S. Butler and H. F. Jones: 1888-1902.includes:ff.... British Library
creatorOf G. K. CHESTERTON PAPERS. VOL. LXXXV (ff. 90). Printer's copy for a projected second edition of The Coloured Lands; circa 1911 -circa 1949. Typewritten copies, unless otherwise stated. Imperfect. Corre-spondence between Dorothy Collins and Messrs A. ..., 1906-1954 British Library
creatorOf Belloc, Hilaire, 1870-1953. Hilaire Belloc collection of papers, 1897-1950. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Churchill, Winston, 1874-1965. Sir Winston Churchill collection of papers, [1898?]-1954 bulk (1910-1954). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company. Reader reports on manuscripts submitted for publication. 1882-1931. Houghton Library
referencedIn Robert Louis Stevenson collection of papers, 1873]-[1944, 1881-1917 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors A-B). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Harte, Bret, 1836-1902. Bret Harte collection of papers, 1860-1929. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Hilaire Belloc collection of papers, 1897-1950 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn William Somerset Maugham collection of papers, 1897]-1964 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf G. K. CHESTERTON PAPERS. VOLS. XV-XLII. Correspondence with Messrs. A. P. Watt and Son, literary agents, of London, agents for royalties and rights of reproduction for the works of G. K. and Frances Chesterton, concerning proposals for new work, repr..., 1907-1982 British Library
creatorOf BALFOUR PAPERS. Vol. CXVII (ff. 216). 1. ff. 1-50b. Professor George Milligan; 1912-1923. 2. ff. 51-216. A. P. Watt and Son, publishers; 1895-1924.includes:ff. 1-50 Professor George Milligan, Scottish divine: Correspondence with A. J. Balfour: 1912..., 1895-1924 British Library
creatorOf Pound, Ezra, 1885-1972. Ezra Pound collection of papers, [1898]-1986 bulk (1914-1959). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Vol. A, ff. i+258.includes:f. 173v Dorothy Edith Collins, secretary to G K Chesterton: Correspondence with A. P. Watt and Son (literary agents) regarding the publication, etc., of the works of G. K. Chesterton of Dorothy Edith Collins: 1928-1982: P... British Library
creatorOf Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946. H. G. Wells collection of papers, 1892-1952 bulk (1896-1939). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Clement King Shorter collection of papers, 1853-1926, 1889-1926 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Strachey/Holroyd Papers. Vol. lx (ff. 80). Correspondence and papers relating to other projects involving Michael Holroyd; 1960-1994. Includes: a proposed biography of Sir Desmond MacCarthy; the championing of William Gerhardi’s works; proposals..., 1960-1994 British Library
creatorOf Kipling, Rudyard, 1865-1936. Rudyard Kipling collection of papers, 1882-1956 bulk (1882-1941). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Sir Arthur Conan Doyle collection of papers, 1881-1944 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Thomas Hardy collection of papers, 1870-1964, 1870-1928 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Marie Corelli collection of papers, 1893-1955, 1893-1945 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Edgar Wallace collection of papers, 1904-1928 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf London, Jack, 1876-1916. Jack London collection of papers, 1900-1948. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf A.P. Watt Records, 1888-1982 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Rare Book Literary and Historical Papers.
creatorOf A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors T-Z). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf A. P. Watt and Son. Records, 1861-1971 bulk (1880-1949). New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Gilbert Keith Chesterton collection of papers, 1895?]-1935 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Henry Rider Haggard collection of papers, 1879-1920, 1885-1915 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn Jerome Klapka Jerome collection of papers, 1892-1926 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt & Son correspondence, 1883-1917. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Rudyard Kipling collection of papers, 1879-1956, 1882-1941 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Collins, Wilkie, 1824-1889. Wilkie Collins collection of papers, 1849-1890. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf A. P. Watt & Son, 1883-1917. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
creatorOf A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors Le-M). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Maugham, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965. William Somerset Maugham collection of papers, [1897]-1964. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Corelli, Marie, 1855-1924. Marie Corelli, 1893-1955 bulk (1893-1945). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf James, Henry, 1843-1916. Henry James collection of papers, [1867]-1917 bulk (1882-1917). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Vol. CXXVII. 1951-1971.Sir Muirhead Bone, artist: Letter to M. Ross: 1951.Daryl Lindsay, director, National Gallery of Victoria: Letter, etc., to M. Ross: 1951: Signed.Lilian C. Dash, friend of Mabel Beardsley: Letters to M. Ross: 1951.Sir Francis Os..., 1951-1971 British Library
creatorOf A.P. Watt (Firm). A.P. Watt records, 1888-1982 (major authors H-Le). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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associatedWith Becke, Louis, 1855-1913. person
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associatedWith Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith), 1874-1936 person
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associatedWith Crawford, F. Marion 1854-1909. person
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associatedWith Crockett, S. R. 1860-1914. person
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Acireale, Sicily
England
Subject
Authors and publishers
Authors, American
Authors, English
Authors and publishers--20th century
Literature publishing--History
Publishers and publishing--History
Publishers and publishing--20th century
Literary agents--History
English literature--20th century
Occupation
Literary agents
Essayist
Women editors
Historians
Dramatists, English
Women journalist
College teachers
Critic
Poets, English
Journalists
Novelist, English
Women authors, English
Scholars
Authors, English
Women novelists, English
Function
Scholars
Poets, English
Historians
Literary agents
Authors, English
Women journalists
College teachers
Essayists
Critics
Women editors
Women novelists, English
Women authors, English
Novelists, English
Dramatists, English
Journalists

Corporate Body

Active 1898

Active 1986

Active 1853

Active 1926

Active 1861

Active 1971

Active 1893

Active 1955

Active 1897

Active 1950

Active 1897

Active 1964

Active 1888

Active 1982

Active 1892

Active 1952

Active 1849

Active 1890

Active 1895

Active 1935

Active 1882

Active 1956

Active 1870

Active 1964

Active 1895

Active 2001

Active 1898

Active 1954

Active 1900

Active 1948

Active 1881

Active 1944

Active 1904

Active 1928

Active 1884

Active 1920

Active 1860

Active 1929

Active 1867

Active 1917

Information

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