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Posthumous portrait of George Smith by John Collier, 1901

George Murray Smith (18 March 1824 – 6 April 1901) was the son of George Smith (1789-1846) who with Alexander Elder (1789–1846) started the Victorian publishing firm of Smith, Elder & Co..

The firm was extremely successful. G.M. Smith succeeded his father and expanded the product and sales areas to cover most Victorian topics and the British Empire. The firm also supplied a catalogue full of other products desirable to British expatriates.

George Smith is widely acknowledged to have inspired the character of Graham Bretton in Charlotte Brontë's novel Villette (as he himself believed).

He died at St. George's Hill, Byfleet, Surrey on 6 April 1901.


  • ODNB Bill Bell, ‘Smith, George Murray (1824–1901)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2006[1] accessed 25 Sept 2006], which cites as printed book sources:
  • L. Huxley The house of Smith Elder (1923)
  • J. W. Robertson Scott The story of the Pall Mall Gazette Oxford University Press (1950)
  • J. Glynn Prince of publishers: a biography of George Smith, Alison & Busby (1986) ISBN 0850316979



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