Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Gollancz, Victor, 1893-1967
Victor Gollancz Publishing Files
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
11 boxes
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001305 to B-001312, B-001745 to B-001747


Consists of author files and adminstrative files of Victor Gollancz Publishing company, including correspondence, publication agreements, and ephemera (e.g. clippings, tearsheets, dust jackets). 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 consists of author and publication files from the Victor Gollancz Ltd publishing company. The majority of the materials consists of correspondence, publication agreements, and Reader's reports. The correspondence primarily is between the publishing company and various authors and individuals regarding copyright and use permissions, with some content regarding sales, royalties, microfilming, and editorial notes. A majority of the files are from authors and publications of the Left Book Club, as well as a number of files regarding Joyce Carol Oates' publications.

The collection also contains author files unrelated to the Left Book Club, which include 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 supporter 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 philosophies.

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.

Gollancz also established 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.

As a humanitarian, Gollancz wrote about and campaigned for contemporary social issues, specifically regarding 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.

Victor Gollancz Ltd.

Victor Gollancz Ltd. was a major British book publishing house of the twentieth century. It was founded in 1927 by Victor Gollancz, whose leftist and socialist politics reflected the titles he published. Gollancz published political works by authors such as George Orwell, H. N. Brailsford, John Strachey, Arthur Koestler, and others.

The publishing house began to transition into science fiction and fantasy titles in the 1960s, and continues to specialize in the publication of literature, nonfiction, and popular fiction, including crime, detective, mystery, thriller and science fiction.

Collection History


Purchased from Kenny's Bookshop in 2018 (AM 2019-50), 2019 (AM 2020-51), and 2020 (AM 2021-20).


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 with folder inventory added by Benjamin Roberts '22. The series, Writers of the Left Addition, was added and described by Amy C. Vo in November 2021. The series, Joyce Carol Oates Addition, was added and described by Amy C. Vo in December 2021.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing 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:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001305 to B-001312, B-001745 to B-001747