Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Frederick Warne (Firm)
Frederick Warne & Co. Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1 box and 0.2 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1


Consists chiefly of correspondence of Frederick Warne & Co., the London publishers, with prospective authors.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection contains selected correspondence of Frederick Warne & Co., the London publishers, or of the Warne brothers. Correspondents include authors, poets, and playwrights offering their work for publication, such as Robert Buchanan, George Manville Fenn, Edmund Gosse, Louisa L. Greene, Joseph Hatton, Anthony Hewitson, Mary Howitt, Alexander Ireland, and Lord Rowton. There is an undated letter with pen-and-ink drawings by the Irish composer Paul J. McSwiney, asking for employment in Warne's book illustration or designing department. A letter sent from Windsor Castle by Sir Henry Ponsonby, private secretary to Queen Victoria, dated December 10, 1881, thanks Warne for the copy of the May Blossom which the firm had the kindness to present to her, and a letter from J. F. Daly, secretary of Benjamin Disraeli, sent from 10 Downing Street on May 8, 1878, thanks the company for sending the prime minister a copy of Mr. Clinton's The Peninsular War. Also included is a letter from the Rev. W. S. Gibson to "My Dear Warne" about the preparatory school he is setting up, asking him to print notices advertising for pupils. In addition, there is a letter from Samuel Davey seeking to purchase autographs of literary celebrities.


Folders are organized in alphabetical order by correspondent name.

Collection Creator Biography:

Frederick Warne (Firm)

Frederick Warne & Co. was founded in 1865 by a bookseller turned publisher who gave his own name to the firm. During the second half of the nineteenth century, Warne's firm built a reputation based upon its list of published children's illustrated books by well-known authors and artists such as Edward Lea, Kate Greenaway, and Walter Crane. Toward the end of the century, Frederick Warne retired and handed the management of the business over to his three sons, Harold, Fruing, and Norman. Warne was among the six publishers to whom Beatrix Potter submitted her first book, the story of a rabbit called Peter. As did the other five, Warne turned the proposal down. People at the company changed their minds, however, when they saw the privately printed edition of the book in 1901. They offered to publish it if Potter redid the illustrations in color. The next year, Warne published The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and by Christmas had sold 20,000 copies. This was the beginning of a forty-year partnership that saw the publication of twenty-two additional Little Books and the development of a flourishing merchandising program, the first of its kind based on a children's book. In 1983, Frederick Warne was acquired by Penguin Books.

Collection History


The material was purchased on August 30, 2000 .

AM 2001-11


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Folder inventory added by Nicholas Williams '2015 in 2012.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

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:

Frederick Warne & Co. Collection; 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): Box 1