Archives of Chatto & Windus Ltd

The firm that became Chatto & Windus in 1873 originated in the 1850s from the bookselling business of John Camden Hotten. In 1946 it acquired the Hogarth Press and in 1969 merged with Jonathan Cape, all three imprints being retained, as was Bodley Head when it joined the firm in 1973. In 1987 the group was purchased by Random House. English and American literature were the strengths of the list.

Some material comes from the subsidiary firms John Camden Hotten, Saunders Otley & Co., Sussex University Press, and Christophers.

Please note some early correspondence files were lost when they were sent for salvage in 1915 to help the war effort but are continuous from then until the 1990s.

Researchers wishing to consult this collection are required to obtain permission prior to access. Please see the Archives of Random House publishers page for more information.


The collections consists of the following series:

  • CW 1-597: correspondence files concerning much of the company’s publishing output. Each title has its own folder with corresponding reference number. C.7,500 files, ranging in date between the 1870s and the 1990s.
  • CW A: Letter book, each containing bound copies of outgoing letters from Chatto and Windus and the companies it superseded: John Camden Hotten and Saunders Otley and Co. Each volume has have an index to correspondents at the front of each volume. The series dates between 1863 and 1955.
  • CW B/1: Author’s account ledgers, dating between 1874 and 1923.
  • CW B/2: Stock books, 1882-1982.
  • CW B/3: Profit and loss ledgers, 1920-1947.
  • CW C: Newspaper cuttings albums, 1909-1965.
  • CW D: Advertisement books. Newspaper and magazine cuttings of adverts placed for various Chatto & Windus titles. Date between 1914 and 1966.
  • CW E: Manuscript entry books. Used to record the details of all manuscripts sent to the company. Date between 1876 and 1989.
  • CW AW: Artworks files. Original illustrations considered for book covers. Incorporates designs from Hogarth Press publications. Date between 1920s and 1990s.
  • CW R: Review files, 1965-1995.
  • CW RR: Reader’s reports. A report was created for each manuscript submitted, and was used to decide whether a manuscript was suitable for publication. Not all parts of this collection have been catalogued, and reports for some published works are missing. Series dates from 1915 onwards.

More information

  • A full description is available on our online database
  • Archive Reference CW
literature, publishing history correspondence, business records, other archives/mss Y chatto and windus

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