Repository Profile - HarperCollins Publishers

HarperCollins Publishers: Capturing Readers Around the World for 200 Years
by Tzofit Goldfarb, Senior Director, Information Center/Archives, HarperCollins Publishers
HarperCollins Publishers, the publisher of Agatha Christie, John F. Kennedy, Harper Lee, C. S. Lewis, Shel Silverstein, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Mark Twain, was founded as a small family-run printing shop by brothers James and John Harper in New York City in March of 1817. Although it is now a global company with offices in 18 countries around the world, HarperCollins is today doing the same work its founders began 200 years ago – connecting authors and readers – and the HarperCollins Archives is a partner in supporting that mission.
The HarperCollins Archives is responsible for maintaining both the Corporate Archive, as well as the HarperCollins Book Archive. The Corporate Archive includes hundreds of newsletters, more than 4,000 book catalogues, author and building photos and much more. The Book Archive contains more than 150,000 physical books, and includes books that the company has published in the United States since the 1800s.
In 2014, HarperCollins moved into a new state of the art space that was designed around the history of the company. Materials from the archives can be can be seen throughout the company’s offices, and include the first book ever published by HarperCollins (then J&J Harper), Seneca’s Morals. First editions of Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Stride Toward Freedom by Martin Luther King, Jr., Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary, and many more are highlighted as well. Original artwork, catalogs, and photos can be seen down every hallway, which highlights the importance of the history and archives to the company.
In addition to the physical materials on display, employees are today encouraged to use the history of HarperCollins to promote authors and books. In 2012, children’s imprint Greenwillow Books, celebrated the 50th anniversary of Amelia Bedelia by releasing a facsimile of the 1963 book featuring archival photos and original artwork, as well as handwritten editorial notes from the book’s editor and pages from the catalogue announcing the book. In 2017, the Children’s division is also celebrating the 60th anniversary of the legendary I Can Read! program, and created a timeline using the resources of the HarperCollins archives.
A comprehensive Company History online portal is available to all employees, and includes a “This Month in Harper History,” feature as well as author profiles, logo information, historical book awards and searchable press releases.

This year HarperCollins Publishers is celebrating its 200th anniversary.  The Archives Department collaborated with the Corporate Communications team to create an extensive website that showcases HarperCollins’s storied history. The site features an annotated historical timeline, a selection of stories about significant books and authors, as well as a list of 200 iconic HarperCollins titles.
Also featured on the site is an area called “Inside the Archives,” highlighting a collection of images of artifacts from the archives. It includes original story notes from authors, correspondence between HarperCollins executives and authors, vintage photographs, original manuscripts, and first editions. Highlights include a sympathy telegram to Coretta Scott King the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a letter from Agatha Christie sharing her opinions on a publicity blurb and her book cover, and an original sketch suggested by Syd Hoff for Danny and the Dinosaur.
The HarperCollins Archives is continuously working to maintain and digitize the archive, as well as to acquire materials for the next 200 years!



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