Oliver and Boyd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Oliver & Boyd)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Oliver and Boyd
FounderThomas Oliver and George Boyd
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationEdinburgh
Publication typesEducational, scientific and medical books

Oliver and Boyd (also commonly referred to as Oliver & Boyd) was a British publishing and printing firm that traded from 1807/08 until 1990.[1] The firm has been described as a "stalwart in Scottish publishing".[2]


Building on Tweeddale Court
The grave of Thomas Oliver, Grange Cemetery

Oliver and Boyd was founded in Edinburgh by two partners Thomas Oliver (1776-1853)[3] and George Boyd (died 1843). The exact foundation year is not known but is believed have been either 1807 or 1808.[4]

The firm operated from the 1820s until the 1970s at the same address in Tweeddale Court,[5] near the Royal Mile in Edinburgh[4] (the old "Oliver and Boyd" sign remains above the front door of the Tweeddale Court building to this day).[5] It was one of the "auld" firms to survive in the area after the crash of 1825-26.[2]

By the 1830s the firm was not only publishing but also printing and bookbinding under the same roof at Tweedale Court, an innovative practice for Edinburgh in that period.[4] By 1836 the firm carried out printing there on a "massive scale". Prior to Oliver & Boyd, printing and publishing in Scotland had been a cottage industry with the printing done on wooden presses and it was only in 1800 that the iron press had been invented.[6][7]

In the years 1811-1841, Oliver and Boyd issued a number of catalogue's for the firm's juvenile books " selling from a halfpenny upwards"[3] and also printed and published "abridged histories in fancy covers and songbooks".[1]

When Thomas Oliver retired and George Boyd died in 1843, the firm remained under family control with George's nephew Thomas Jamieson Boyd[8] being appointed as managing partner in 1843 and then acting as senior partner from 1869 to 1894.[2] In this period the firm gained a reputation in the fields of education[9] and medical textbook publishing and had a strong presence in the British colonial markets.[1][2]

In 1896 Oliver and Boyd was taken over by three "well-established"[2] Edinburgh booksellers, George and James Thin and John Grant.[7][1]

During the 20th century the firm maintained its reputation as "educational and general publishers of high standing".[10]

In 1962 the firm was acquired by the Financial Times group and later Longmans acquired its publishing operations.[7][1] Oliver and Boyd ceased operations in 1990.

Book series[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e British Museum: Term Details - Oliver & Boyd (Biographical details), britishmuseum.org. Retrieved 24 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e David Finkelstein, "Publishing 1830-80", in: Bill Bell, ed., The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, Volume 3: Ambition and Industry 1800–1880, Edinburgh University Press, p. 97. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b Thomas Oliver (1775-1853) Archived 2016-08-12 at the Wayback Machine, gaedin.co.uk. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c James Mitchell, Oliver & Boyd, nls.uk. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b Tweeddale Court Archived 2018-02-13 at the Wayback Machine, cityofliterature.com. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  6. ^ Edinburgh’s Publishing Heritage Archived 2018-10-10 at the Wayback Machine, cityofliterature.com. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Print room at Oliver & Boyd Archived 2015-10-26 at the Wayback Machine, flickr.com. Retrieved 12 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Boyd, Thomas Jamieson (DNB12)" Archived 2016-04-06 at the Wayback Machine, wikisource.org. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  9. ^ W. McDowall, Caesar's Gallic War: First Book: With Vocabulary and Notes, Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1892, "Educational Books" listing (24 page publisher's advertisement). Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  10. ^ Lord Robbins, "The Financial Times Limited: Broadened Scope of Company's Activities", The Observer, 2 June 1963, p. 5.
  11. ^ Writers and Critics (Oliver & Boyd) - Book Series List, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved 22 June 2019.

External links[edit]