• Title
    Leo Cooper Archive
  • Reference
  • Scope and Content
    The Leo Cooper Archive contains a fairly comprehensive set of records for a small publishing firm, operating for about thirty-five years who were taken over by a series of larger companies. The archive consists of over 350 archive boxes of files, manuscripts, artwork and minute books. The archive has been divided into two main categories- Editorial and Business records -with different series of archives within each category. Whilst files and artwork are not present for every book published by Leo Cooper, there are over 700 books represented (some published, some unpublished and some published by other publishers) in editorial and related files, artwork, manuscripts, proofs and review files. The editorial files include some relating to Seeley Service titles published prior to the merger. In the business records there are correspondence files, internal company files/minute books and stock/sales records. Correspondence files covering the periods where the company was bought out by other publishers provides an insight into a small publishing firm trying to stay afloat with a niche list of publications.
  • Extent
    350+ boxes
  • Level of description
  • Content person
  • Archival history
    Leo Cooper Ltd was established in 1968 by Leo Cooper after thirteen years in the publishing business. Leo Cooper had begun his career in publishing at Longmans in 1955, working his way up from the invoicing department to publicity. During his time at Longmans, Cooper increasingly came into contact with military publications including author Raleigh Trevelyan whose books he was later to publish with the Leo Cooper imprint. After ten years Cooper decided to move on and in 1965 was offered a job by Andre Deutsch as his personal assistant. His time here was short as in 1966 he moved to the publicity department of another publishing house, Hamish Hamilton, who published a wide range of general fiction. During Leo Cooper’s time at Hamish Hamilton he proposed they start a small military history list and in 1967 the Famous Regiments Series was created. In 1968 when he was dismissed he took the authors and titles under contract with him and bought the rights to the Famous Regiments Series. The aim of the series was to save the history of all regiments in the British army and the first book published under the Leo Cooper imprint was part of the series The York and Lancaster Regiment by Col. Hugh Creighton-Williams. Tim Jacques, a former colleague from Longmans designed the distinctive pen and sword colophon. Shortly after the firm started, Leo Cooper was joined by Tom Hartman, a former colleague from Hamish Hamilton, who became his business partner and editor for nearly thirty-five years. The business started out at 47 Museum Street (London). When it began to outgrow the office Leo Cooper found a new home on Shaftesbury Avenue with the well established Seeley Service (Seeley is the third oldest publishing firm, established 1744) who were known for their success publishing the Lonsdale Library and Badminton Library series. In 1970 the companies merged and became Seeley, Service & Cooper Ltd. During this time books were published under several imprints: Seeley Service, Seeley Service & Co, Seeley, Service & Cooper and Leo Cooper. In 1979, under financial difficulties and in receivership the company was bought by Frederick Warne Ltd, but continuing to publish under the Leo Cooper imprint. Three years later Leo Cooper Ltd moved under the umbrella of the Heinemann group – namely Secker & Warburg and later Heinemann. Leo Cooper Ltd was now publishing in association with Secker & Warburg and the Famous Regiments Series was still publishing British regimental histories, often largely funded by the regiments themselves. Eventually Leo Cooper Ltd was bought by the Barnsley Chronicle in 1990 and the imprint name was changed to Pen & Sword. Leo Cooper (and some of his staff) stayed with the company for some time before retiring from publishing for good around 2002. Pen & Sword Books continue to publish a wide range of general military history and regimental history as part of the Barnsley Chronicle Group.
  • System of arrangment
    A Editorial records A/1 Manuscripts A/2 Editorial and related files (production, publicity) A/3 Artwork (dust jacket, map) A/4 Review files A/5 Books (proofs, marked copies for new editions) B Business records B/1 Business correspondence B/1/1 Publishers B/1/2 General B/1/3 Book fairs (Frankfurt, Bologna) B/1/4 Other companies/individuals B/2 Internal company records B/2/1 Accounts B/2/2 Minutes B/2/3 Company correspondence B/3 Sales records B/3/1 Stock sheets B/3/2 Royalty statements B/3/3 Orders B/4 Other records B/4/1 Newscuttings B/4/2 Catalogues