Harper Books
Harper and Brothers publisher mark 1895.jpg
Parent companyHarperCollins
FoundedMarch 6, 1817; 206 years ago (1817-03-06) (as J. & J. Harper)
FounderJames Harper
John Harper
Headquarters locationNew York City
Owner(s)News Corp

Harper is an American publishing house, the flagship imprint of global publisher HarperCollins based in New York City.


Group portrait of the four Harper brothers by Mathew Brady, c. 1860.  Left to right: Fletcher, James, John, and Joseph.
Group portrait of the four Harper brothers by Mathew Brady, c. 1860. Left to right: Fletcher, James, John, and Joseph.

J. & J. Harper (1817–1833)

James Harper and his brother John, printers by training, started their book publishing business J. & J. Harper in New York City in 1817. Their two brothers, Joseph Wesley and Fletcher, joined them in the mid-1820s.

Harper & Brothers (1833–1962)

Further information: Category: Harper & Brothers books

The company changed its name to "Harper & Brothers" in 1833. The headquarters of the publishing house was located at 331 Pearl Street, facing Franklin Square in Lower Manhattan (about where the Manhattan approach to the Brooklyn Bridge lies today).

Harper & Brothers began publishing Harper's New Monthly Magazine in New York City in 1850. The brothers also published Harper's Weekly (starting in New York City in June 1857), Harper's Bazar (starting in New York City on November 2, 1867), and Harper's Young People (starting in New York City in 1879).

George B. M. Harvey became president of Harper's on November 16, 1899.[1]

Harper's New Monthly Magazine ultimately became Harper's Magazine, now published by the Harper's Magazine Foundation. Harper's Weekly was absorbed by The Independent (New York; later Boston) in 1916, which merged with The Outlook in 1928. Harper's Bazar was sold to William Randolph Hearst in 1913, became Harper's Bazaar, and is now simply Bazaar, published by the Hearst Corporation.

In 1924, Cass Canfield joined Harper & Brothers and held various executive positions until he died in 1986.[2] In 1925, Eugene F. Saxton joined the company as an editor, and he was responsible for publishing many well-known authors, including Edna St. Vincent Millay and Thornton Wilder.[3] In 1935, Edward Aswell moved to Harper & Brothers as an assistant editor of general books and eventually became editor-in-chief. Aswell persuaded Thomas Wolfe to leave Scribner's, and, after Wolfe's death, edited the posthumous novels The Web and the Rock, You Can't Go Home Again, and The Hills Beyond.[4]

Harper & Row (1962–1990)

Further information: Category: Harper & Row books

1846 Harper's Illuminated Bible
1846 Harper's Illuminated Bible

In 1962 Harper & Brothers merged with Row, Peterson & Company to become Harper & Row. Harper's religion publishing moved to San Francisco and became Harper San Francisco (now HarperOne) in 1977. Harper & Row acquired Thomas Y. Crowell Co. and J. B. Lippincott & Co. in the 1970s; Crowell and the trade operations of Lippincott were merged into Harper & Row in 1980.[5] In 1988, Harper & Row purchased the religious publisher Zondervan, including subsidiary Marshall Pickering.[6]

HarperCollins (1990–present)

Main article: HarperCollins

Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (now News Corp) acquired Harper & Row in 1987, and William Collins, Sons in 1990. The names of these two national publishing houses (Harper & Row in the United States and Collins in the United Kingdom) were combined (along with the Harper's torch icon and Collins' fountain icon) to create HarperCollins.[7] The company has since expanded its international reach with further acquisitions of formerly independent publishers. The Harper imprint began being used in place of HarperCollins in 2007.


After the purchase of Harper & Row by News Corporation, HarperCollins launched a new mass-market paperback line to complement its existing trade paperback Perennial imprint. It was known as Harper Paperbacks from 1990 to 2000, HarperTorch from 2000 to 2006, and Harper from 2007 to the present.

Authors and illustrators (selected)

See also


  1. ^ "HARPER & BROS. REORGANIZE.; G.B.M. Harvey, Editor and Proprietor of The North American Review, Elected President of the Firm". The New York Times. November 17, 1899. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  2. ^ "CASS CANFIELD, A TITAN OF PUBLISHING, IS DEAD AT 88". The New York Times. March 28, 1986. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  3. ^ "The New York Times: Sunday June 27, 1943". The New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  4. ^ "The New York Times: Thursday November 6, 1958". The New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  5. ^ Mitgang, Herbert (March 27, 1980). "Harper Absorbs Lippincott & Crowell". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  6. ^ McDowell, Edwin (July 14, 1988). "Harper & Row to Acquire Religious Books Publisher". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  7. ^ Cohen, Roger (June 11, 1990). "Birth of a Global Book Giant". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  8. ^ "Harper Lee, Author of 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' Is to Publish a Second Novel". The New York Times. February 4, 2015. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
  9. ^ "Men Who Make Pictures". The Weekly Wisconsin. August 26, 1885. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com. Howard Pyle works almost exclusively for the Harpers.
  10. ^ Charles Dudley Warner at the Encyclopædia Britannica

Further reading

Primary sources