Smith, Elder & Co.

Smith, Elder & Co. or Smith, Elder, and Co.[1] or Smith, Elder and Co.[2][3] was a British publishing company which was most noted for the works it published in the 19th century.

Smith, Elder & Co.
FounderGeorge Smith and Alexander Elder
SuccessorJohn Murray
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationLondon[1][2]
Publication typesBooks, magazines


The firm was founded by George Smith (1789–1846) and Alexander Elder (1790–1876) and successfully continued by George Murray Smith (1824–1901). They are known to have published as early as 1839.[2]

They are notable for producing the first edition of the Dictionary of National Biography (DNB).

The firm achieved its first major success with the publication of Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre in 1847, under the pseudonym of "Currer Bell".

Other major authors published by the firm included Robert Browning, George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, Richard Jefferies, George MacDonald, Charles Reade, John Ruskin, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Alfred Tennyson and George Gissing.[4]

In addition, beginning in 1841, they published The London and Edinburgh Magazine. Beginning in 1859, they published Cornhill Magazine.[1]

Works published


  1. "Business Correspondence of Smith, Elder, and Co., 1850–1908: Finding Aid". Princeton University Library. 2008. Retrieved 2012-07-07. Abstract. Consists, for the most part, of business correspondence of George Smith relating to the Cornhill Magazine, which he founded in 1859, and other publishing business of Smith, Elder, and Co., the London publishing firm.
  2. Forbes, Alexander (1839). California: A History of Upper and Lower California. Cornhill, London: Smith, Elder and Co.
  3. Steve King. "Charlotte Bronte. Charlotte Bronte as "Currer Bell"". Today in Literature. Retrieved 2012-07-07. Smith, Elder and Co. took the risk on passages like that, and Jane Eyre was an immediate and controversial hit.
  4. "George Murray Smith (1824–1901)". Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  5. One 1850 advertisement of "New Christmas Books" (3) shows footer "London: Smith, Elder and Co., 65, Cornhill." (The Observer, 1850-12-22 p. 1). The Cornhill Magazine was inaugurated January 1960, named after the 65 Cornhill street address.
      The "Sixth Edition" title page of The King of the Golden River, no date, shows "London:" over "Smith, Elder & Co., 15 Waterloo Place." (viewed as HathiTrust Digital Library 011986310).

Further reading

  • Jenifer Smith, Prince of Publishers: A Biography of George Smith , London: Allison & Busby, 1986

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