Eunice Frost Papers: DM1843

Eunice Frost

Eunice Frost (1914-1998) began work for Penguin in 1936 when she was appointed secretary to Allen Lane.  She was soon promoted to editor when Allen Lane pushed a stack of books across the desk to her and asked if she liked reading.  Eventually becoming Executive Editor, Frost was a prominent female figure in the male-dominated world of pre-war publishing.  She was instrumental in the founding and continuation of several series of Penguin books, including the Penguin Main Series (00), Penguin Modern Painters (MP/0706), Puffin (PS/03), Buildings of England (BE/0702 paperback, HBE/0710 hardback), Pelican History of Art (Z/0560 hardback, Z/0561 paperback), Penguin Classics (L/044), Poetry (D/042), Music (SC/0709), and Penguin New Writing (NW).  In 1941 she was sent to New York City to set up an American branch of Penguin Books.

In 1957 Eunice Frost was awarded an OBE for services to literature and publishing, and in 1958 she became the first woman appointed to Penguin's Board of Directors. She married Harry Kemp (1911-1994) in 1957 but their marriage was later dissolved.  On her retirement from Penguin in 1960 she moved to Lewes, Sussex, where she died on 12 August 1998.

The Eunice Frost papers contain correspondence and papers relating to her personal and business life, although the two overlap as she corresponded with authors, editors, artists and Penguin employees until her death. They also include minutes and accounts for Penguin Books Ltd. that do not survive in the main Penguin Archive, together with some editorial correspondence.

A handlist of the Eunice Frost papers (236 Kb, doc) is available.

Dates of Creation: 1942-1997

Extent: 69 archive boxes

Immediate Source of Acquisition: These papers were given in 1998 to the University of Bristol Library Special Collections by the estate of Eunice Frost.

Access Conditions: Accessible to all bona fide readers.  Please note that cataloguing of the Eunice Frost Papers is currently in progress, and care must be taken when using them.  A typescript catalogue is available in Special Collections.

Copyright/Reproduction: Permission to copy material must be obtained from the University of Bristol Library Special Collections.

See also:
J.E. Morpurgo  Allen Lane: King Penguin (Hutchinson, 1979.
Steve Hare (ed.) Penguin Portrait: Allen Lane and the Penguin Editors 1935-1970 (Penguin, 1995).
Jeremy Lewis  Penguin Special: the Life and Times of Allen Lane (Penguin, 2005).
Obituary: Eunice Frost, The Independent, 18 August 1998.
Obituary: Harry Kemp, The Independent, 28 October 1994.

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