The Penguin Archive

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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.  Please note that the most up to date catalogues are on the Online Archive Catalogue.


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.

Using the Penguin Archive

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.

Arranging Your Visit

Please contact Special Collections to make an appointment to use the Penguin Archive:

  • Special Collections
    Arts and Social Sciences Library
    University of Bristol
    Tyndall Avenue
    BS8 1TJ

  • Telephone: (0117) 928 8014
  • Email:

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.

Copying Documents

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.

Further information about the Penguin Archive:

Special Collections Online Archive Catalogue.  The Online Archive Catalogue contains searchable catalogues of the Penguin Archive including new cataloguing.  Please consult the Online Archive Catalogue for new cataloguing including some updated versions of the lists below.

AHRC-funded Penguin Archive Project

Penguin Book Collection

Penguin Editorial Files: DM1107, DM1852, DM1952, DM2083, DM2150

Penguin Historical Files: DM1294

Allen Lane Files: DM1819

Betty Radice Papers and the Penguin Classics Series: DM1187

Eunice Frost Papers: DM1843

Lady Chatterley’s Lover Trial Papers: DM1679

Hamish Hamilton Archive: DM1352

Frederick Warne Archive: DM1919

Rough Guides Archive: DM2166

Private Deposits

Useful Links

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