Sir Stanley Unwin
19 December 1884
|Died||13 October 1968 (aged 83)|
London, England, United Kingdom
|Burial place||Golders Green Crematorium|
|Known for||Founder of Allen & Unwin|
|Spouse||Alice Mary Storr (m. 1914–1968)|
Unwin started his career at the publishing firm of his step uncle Thomas Fisher Unwin. In 1914 Stanley Unwin purchased a controlling interest in the firm George Allen and Sons, and established George Allen & Unwin, later to become Allen and Unwin.
In 1936, J. R. R. Tolkien submitted The Hobbit for publication and Unwin paid his ten-year-old son Rayner Unwin a shilling to write a report on the manuscript. Rayner's favourable response prompted Unwin to publish the book. Once the book became a success, Unwin asked Tolkien for a sequel, which eventually became the bestselling The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien had wanted to publish The Silmarillion, but it was turned down for being "too Celtic"; it was finally published after his death by Allen & Unwin in 1977.
In 1950 Unwin published another bestseller, Thor Heyerdahl's The Kon-Tiki Expedition.
Stanley Unwin was born on 19 December 1884 at 13 Handen Road, Lee, Lewisham, south-east London. His father was Edward Unwin (1840-1933) and his mother was Elizabeth Unwin (née Spicer). Edward Unwin was a printer whose father, Jacob Unwin, was the founder of the printing firm Unwin Brothers.
Unwin died on 13 October 1968 and was honoured with a Blue Plaque at his birthplace.
Books by Sir Stanley Unwin
- The Price of Books (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1925)
- The Truth About Publishing (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1926; 8th revised edition, Allen & Unwin, 1976)
- Book Trade Organisation in Norway and Sweden (1932)
- The Book in the Making (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1933)
- Two Young Men See the World (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1934). Joint author: Severn Storr.
- The Danish Book Trade Organisation (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1937)
- Best-sellers: Are They Born or Made? (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1939). Joint authors: George Stevens and Frank Swinnerton.
- Publishing in Peace and War (London : George Allen & Unwin, 1944)
- On Translations (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1946)
- How Governments Treat Books (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1950)
- The Truth About a Publisher: An Autobiographical Record (New York: Macmillan, 1960)
- Fifty Years with Father: A Relationship (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1982)
Books about the Unwin family
- Philip Unwin, The Publishing Unwins (London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1972)
- Philip Unwin, The Printing Unwins (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1976)
- "Obituary: Sir Stanley Unwin". The Times. 15 October 1968. p. 13.
- "Stanley Unwin | Authors | Faber & Faber". www.faber.co.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
- Primers for the Age of Plenty (George Allen & Unwin) - Book Series List, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
- Plimmer, Charlotte and Denis (21 October 2015). "JRR Tolkien: 'Film my books? Its easier to film the Odyssey'". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK: TMG. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- "Obituaries: Ursula Moray Williams". The Independent. London, UK: INM. 7 November 2006. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
- Dictionary of National Biography