Biography and History

Arthur H. Thornhill, Jr. (1924- ) followed his father, Arthur H. Thornhill, Sr. (1895-1970), into a long and successful career at Little, Brown and Company, the prestigious publishing house that was founded in 1837 in Boston, Massachusetts. Thornhill's college education at Princeton University (Class of 1946) was interrupted by World War II while he served nearly four years in the U.S. ground and air forces before returning to Princeton and completing a degree in American history. In 1948, Thornhill joined Little, Brown and Company as a trainee and worked in various sales and editorial departments. He was named general manager of the trade division in 1954, elected a vice president in 1955, and became president of Little, Brown, Ltd. (Canada) in 1956. He rose to the position of executive vice president in 1959, and finally, to president and CEO in 1962, thereby succeeding his father. One of Thornhill's major achievements as the head of the company included negotiating the 1968 merger in which Little, Brown became a subsidiary of Time, Inc., while retaining an independent board of directors, a Massachusetts charter, and full editorial control in all publishing decisions. During Thornhill's tenure, Little, Brown also expanded and developed its law, medical, and college text divisions, and ventured into trade paperback publishing. Thornhill was also involved in a variety of activities and organizations both inside and outside the publishing industry, chairing, for example, the American Book Publishers Council's Committee on Reading Development and serving on the Board of Trustees of the Princeton University Press and Bennington College. In 1987, Thornhill retired from Little, Brown. He and his wife, Dorothy, currently divide their time among residences in New Hampshire, Florida, and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Source: From the finding aid for C0882

  • Arthur H. Thornhill Papers. 1987-2003 (inclusive), 1930-1992 (bulk).

    Call Number: C0882

    Contains selected papers, photographs, and memorabilia of Arthur H. Thornhill, Jr., Princeton Class of 1946, pertaining to his publishing career at Little, Brown and Company and his involvement in a variety of organizations and activities within the publishing industry. Also present in the collection is a limited amount of material from Thornhill's father, Arthur H. Thornhill, Sr., who preceded his son as president of Little, Brown and Company.