Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Thornhill, Arthur H. (Arthur Horace) (1924)
Arthur H. Thornhill Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1987-2003 (mostly 1930-1992)
19 boxes and 9 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-15; P-000014; L-000006; P-000015; P-000016


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.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the papers of Arthur H. Thornhill, Jr. (Princeton Class of 1946), chiefly pertaining to his career (1948-1987) at Little, Brown and Company as an editor, publishing executive, and CEO. Included is correspondence with authors and people representing a variety of organizations both inside and outside the publishing industry, photographs, clippings, and memorabilia. Correspondents include Ansel Adams, Bruce Catton, James Thomas Flexner, John Fowles, Lillian Hellman, Henry Kissinger, Norman Mailer, William Manchester, Vance Packard, and Herman Wouk. There are also some papers pertaining to his father, Arthur H. Thornhill, Sr. (1895-1970), who started at Little, Brown in 1913, and rose from shipping clerk and salesman to president and chairman of the board in 1948.


The organization of the Thornhill material in the collection basically reflects the order in which Thornhill kept it.

Collection Creator Biography:


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.

Collection History


Arthur H. Thornhill, Jr., donated the bulk of this collection of his personal papers to Princeton University Library in 2000 (AM 2001-16), with several later additions from Thornhill received between 2001 and 2004 (AM 2001-29, AM 2001-90, AM-2004-76). Additional author photographs were a bequest of Arthur H. Thornhill, Jr.'s estate in 2016, via Sandra T. Brushart and Arthur H. Thornhill, III (AM 2016-62).

Over the course of his publishing career at Little, Brown and Company, Thornhill corresponded with many authors in addition to a wide variety of people in the publishing industry. Thornhill notes, however, that there are "many gaps" in his papers at Princeton due to the fact that the majority of his material was included with the Little, Brown company files that went to Harvard University's Houghton Library in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sylvia Yu in 2001. Finding aid written by Sylvia Yu in 2001. Finding aid updated by Kelly Bolding in February 2016.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Arthur H. Thornhill Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-15; P-000014; L-000006; P-000015; P-000016