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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Little, Brown and Company is a publishing house established by Charles Coffin Little and his partner, James Brown. Since 2006 it has been a constituent unit of Hachette Livre.

The firm initially specialized in legal treatises and imported titles. Even so, in the early years Little and Brown published William H. Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella, Jones Very's first book of poetry (edited by Ralph Waldo Emerson), Letters of John Adams and works by James Russell Lowell and Francis Parkman. The firm was the original publisher of United States Statutes at Large beginning in 1845, under authority granted by a joint resolution of Congress. (In 1874, Congress transferred the authority to publish the Statutes at Large to the Government Printing Office, which has been responsible for producing the set since that time.)[citation needed] In 1853 Little, Brown began publishing the works of British poets from Chaucer to Wordsworth. There were ninety-six volumes published in the series in five years.

In 1859 John Bartlett became a partner in the firm. He held the rights to his Familiar Quotations, and Little, Brown published the 15th edition of the work in 1980, 125 years after its first publication.

To date, Little, Brown and Company's most successful books have been the Twilight series.

John Murray Brown, James Brown's son, took over when Augustus Flagg retired in 1884. In the 1890s Little, Brown expanded into general publishing, including fiction. In 1896 it published Quo Vadis. In 1898 Little, Brown purchased a list of titles from the Roberts Brothers firm.


20th century

John Murray Brown died in 1908 and James W. McIntyre became managing partner. When McIntyre died in 1913, Little, Brown incorporated. In 1925 Little, Brown entered into an agreement to publish all Atlantic Monthly books. This arrangement lasted until 1985. During this time the joint Atlantic Monthly Press/Little Brown imprint published James Truslow Adams's The Adams Family, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall's Mutiny on the Bounty and its sequels, James Hilton's Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Walter D. Edmonds's Drums Along the Mohawk, William Least Heat-Moon's Blue Highways, and Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine.

Other prominent figures published by Little, Brown in the 20th and early 21st centuries have included James Patterson, Donald Barthelme, Louisa M. Alcott, Catherine Drinker Bowen, Bernie Brillstein, Hortense Calisher, Bruce Catton, A. J. Cronin, Peter De Vries, J. Frank Dobie, C. S. Forester, John Fowles, Malcolm Gladwell, Pete Hamill, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Lillian Hellman, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Henry Kissinger, Elizabeth Kostova, Norman Mailer, William Manchester, Nelson Mandela, John P. Marquand, Masters and Johnson, Stephenie Meyer, Rick Moody, Ogden Nash, Edwin O'Connor, Erich Maria Remarque, J. D. Salinger, Alice Sebold, David Sedaris, George Stephanopoulos, Gore Vidal, David Foster Wallace, Evelyn Waugh, P. G. Wodehouse, and Herman Wouk. Little, Brown also published the photography of Ansel Adams.

The imprint was purchased by Time Inc. in 1968, and was made part of the Time Warner Book Group when Time merged with Warner Communications to form Time Warner in 1989.

Little, Brown expanded into the UK in 1992 when TWBG bought MacDonald & Co, taking on its Abacus (upmarket paperback) and Orbit (science fiction) lists, and authors including Iain Banks. Feminist publisher Virago Press followed in 1996.

21st century

In 2006, the Time Warner Book Group was sold to French publisher Hachette Livre; the Little, Brown imprint is now used by Hachette Livre's U.S. publishing company, Hachette Book Group USA.

In May 2006, the publishing company received some brief bad publicity over plagiarism allegations levied against Kaavya Viswanathan for her book How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life.

In 2009, the company started publishing the English versions of the Haruhi Suzumiya Light Novels. As of the end of 2009, the first two novels have been released.


  • Oliver, Bill (1986) Little, Brown and Company, in Peter Dzwonkonski, Ed. Dictionary of Literary Biography - Volume Forty-nine - American Literary Publishing Houses, 1638 - 1899 Part 1: A-M. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Company. ISBN 0-8103-1727-3

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