The Penguin Archive contains the archives of Penguin Books Ltd. from its foundation in 1935 to the 1980s. It includes a wide variety of materials on the establishment and business life of Penguin Books Ltd., as well as social events, legal cases (particularly the Lady Chatterley's Lover trial of 1960), exhibitions on the company's history, and the private lives of prominent figures in the early history of the company, including Sir Allen Lane, Eunice Frost and Betty Radice. It also includes a large collection of Penguin books from 1935 to date.
Our Online Archive Catalogue includes fully searchable catalogues of many collections in the Penguin Archive.
We have developed a timeline summarising the history of Penguin books, with links to some of the main collections in the archive.
The archive contains documents, books, artwork and objects on deposit from Penguin Books Ltd., together with items that have been given to or purchased by the University of Bristol Library Special Collections.
Researchers wishing to use the Penguin Archive must first obtain written permission from Penguin Books Ltd. Please ask Special Collections for contact details. Once permission has been obtained an appointment can be made to visit Special Collections.
Please contact Special Collections to make an appointment to use the Penguin Archive:
Researchers need to bring with them a recognised form of identification, such as a university library card, a driving licence or passport, plus written permission from Penguin Books Ltd.
There is no charge for using the Penguin Archive, but researchers are asked to abide by the Reading Room rules.
Laptops may be used in the Reading Room, but due to the limited number of power sockets available researchers are advised to ensure that their laptop batteries are fully charged.
Staff can photocopy and scan materials from the Penguin Archive for personal research use only. Researchers will be asked to complete a form to agree with these conditions and a fee will be charged. However, documents that are too large or fragile cannot be photocopied or scanned, but may be photographed. The use of digital cameras by researchers is permitted on request.
Images intended for use in publications must first be cleared with Penguin Books Ltd. and Special Collections. Please ask Special Collections staff for further information and current charges.
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