Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Gollancz, Victor, 1893-1967
Princeton University. Library. Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Victor Gollancz Publishing Files
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
8 boxes
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Boxes B-001305; B-001306; B-001307; B-001308; B-001309; B-001310; B-001311; B-001312


Consists of author files and adminstrative files of Victor Gollancz Publishing company, including correspondence , publication agreements, and ephemera. A number of the files are associated with the Left Book Club's operations, along with subject files on Irish authors and titles related to topics on Africa.

Collection Description & Creator Information


This collection contains author and publications files of the Victor Gollancz LTD publishing company, which primarily includes the publisher's correspondence with various authors, Reader's reports, and legal/libel agreements and documents.

A majority of the files are from the socialist group the Left Book Club, which was the first book club in Britain. The Left Book Club was not only a book club run along commercial lines, but also a campaigning entity that aimed to propagate left-wing ideas in Britain. The establishment of the club marked the end of Gollancz's career solely as a publisher, as much of his energy was also committed to campaigning for socialist issues. A significant left-wing institution during the late 1930s and 1940s in the UK, it was established by Gollancz along with Stafford Cripps and John Strachey to inform and unite the British left. The club offered a monthly book choice, for sale to members only, as well as a newsletter that acquired the status of a major political magazine. It also held an annual rally. At the height of its operation, membership totaled 57,000.

The collection also contains author files unrelated to the Left Book Club, which includes the files of several Irish authors, as well as files on titles concerning Africa, race, apartheid, New African Statehood, colonialism, travel, and archaeology.

Collection Creator Biography:

Sir Victor Gollancz (1893-1967) was a British publisher and humanitarian. He was a champion of left-wing causes and thought, was particularly sympathetic to Liberalism and Communism, and used his publishing house to promote and disseminate literature that espoused socialist and pacifist philosophes, among other things. Gollancz also established the Left Book Club, which was the first book club in the UK.

Born in Maida Vale, London, Gollancz attended St. Paul's School, London and New School, Oxford before becoming a schoolteacher. Soon after, he met Ernest Benn and was hired to work at his publishing company, Ernest Benn Limited. In 1927, Gollancz founded his own publishing house, which would publish works by such authors Ford Madox Ford, George Orwell, Elizabeth Bowen, Daphne du Maurier, and Franz Kafka.

As a humanitarian, Gollancz also devoted himself to writing about and campaigning for social issues of the times, specifically events in Europe during and after World War II. In particular, he issued pamphlets discussing the state of communism in Europe, the persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazis, and his beliefs on the ethics of brotherly love. Gollancz was married to Ruth Lowy, with whom he had five daughters. He died in London in 1967.

Collection History


Purchased from Kennys Bookshop in 2018 . AM 2019-50.

Archival Appraisal Information:

Several printed copies of duplicate Left Book Club publications were removed during processing.

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Chloe Pfendler in January 2019. Finding aid written by Chloe Pfendler in January 2019. Folder inventory added by Benjamin Roberts '22.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

Open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Victor Gollancz Publishing Files; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
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