Smith, Elder & Co.

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Smith, Elder & Co.
SuccessorJohn Murray
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationLondon[1][2]
Publication typesBooks, magazines

Smith, Elder & Co., alternatively Smith, Elder, and Co.[1] or Smith, Elder and Co.[2][3] was a British publishing company which was most noted for the works it published in the 19th century. It was purchased by John Murray in the early 1900s, its archive now kept as part of the John Murray Archive at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland.


Offices of Smith, Elder & Co. at No. 15 Waterloo Place in London[4]

The firm was founded by George Smith (1789–1846) and Alexander Elder (1790–1876) and successfully continued by George Murray Smith (1824–1901). They are known to have published as early as 1826.[2]

They are notable for producing the first edition of the Dictionary of National Biography (DNB).

The firm achieved its first major success with the publication of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre in 1847, under the pseudonym of "Currer Bell".

Other major authors published by the firm included Robert Browning, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, Richard Jefferies, George MacDonald, Charles Reade, John Ruskin, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Alfred Tennyson and George Gissing.[5]

In addition, beginning in 1841, they published The London and Edinburgh Magazine. Beginning in 1859, they published The Cornhill Magazine.[1]

In 1909 the firm was being run by Reginald Smith.[6]

Works published[edit]

Book series[edit]

  • Illustrated Editions of Popular Works
  • Popular Library


  1. ^ a b c "Business Correspondence of Smith, Elder, and Co., 1850–1908: Finding Aid". Princeton University Library. 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2012. Abstract. Consists, for the most part, of business correspondence of George Smith relating to the Cornhill Magazine, which he founded in 1859, and other publishing business of Smith, Elder, and Co., the London publishing firm.
  2. ^ a b c Forbes, Alexander (1839). California: A History of Upper and Lower California. Cornhill, London: Smith, Elder and Co.
  3. ^ Steve King. "Charlotte Bronte. Charlotte Bronte as "Currer Bell"". Today in Literature. Retrieved 7 July 2012. Smith, Elder and Co. took the risk on passages like that, and Jane Eyre was an immediate and controversial hit.
  4. ^ One 1850 advertisement of "New Christmas Books" (3) shows footer "London: Smith, Elder and Co., 65, Cornhill." (The Observer, 1850-12-22 p. 1). The Cornhill Magazine was inaugurated January 1960, named after the 65 Cornhill street address.
      The "Sixth Edition" title page of The King of the Golden River, no date, shows "London:" over "Smith, Elder & Co., 15 Waterloo Place." (viewed as HathiTrust Digital Library 011986310).
  5. ^ "George Murray Smith (1824–1901)". Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  6. ^ The Illustrated London News, Volume: 134 , Issue: 3656, May 15, 1909, p. 18.

Further reading[edit]

  • Jenifer Smith, Prince of Publishers: A Biography of George Smith , London: Allison & Busby, 1986

External links[edit]