A & C Black

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Adam and Charles Black's 1863 edition of Woodstock, by Sir Walter Scott (first publ. 1826)

A & C Black is a British book publishing company, owned since 2002 by Bloomsbury Publishing.


The firm was founded in 1807 by Adam Black in Edinburgh, and moved to the Soho district of London in 1889. In 1851, the firm bought the copyright of Sir Walter Scott's Waverley novels for £27,000.

During the years 1827–1903 the firm published the 7th, 8th and 9th editions of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

Beginning in 1839, the firm published a series of travel guides known as Black's Guides.

The company was the publisher of the annual Who's Who (since 1849) and also, since 2002, the Whitaker's Almanack. Other notable works include Black's Medical Dictionary and the Know The Game series of sports rules and laws reference books.[1]

The firm also published the A. & C. Black Colour Books: Twenty Shilling Series (1901-21),[2] a "range of high-quality colour collectable picture books"[3] which are still collected by bibliophiles.[4]

In 1902 they published P. G. Wodehouse's first book, The Pothunters, and went on to produce many of his early works.

In 1989 A & C Black purchased both Christopher Helm Publishers and later the Pica Press, publishers of the Helm Identification Guides, from Christopher Helm.[5]

In 2000 A & C Black was purchased by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, which continued producing the former's range of reference works.

In June 2002, T. & A. D. Poyser and their back-list of around 70 ornithology titles were acquired from Elsevier Science.

A & C Black purchased Methuen Drama from Methuen Publishing in 2006, and acquired Arden Shakespeare from Cengage Learning in 2008.

In 2016, A & C Black Music list has moved to Collins Learning, a division of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Notable books

World maps from A & C Black's 1854 General Atlas Of The World



  1. ^ Know The Game, archive.org. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  2. ^ A. & C. Black Colour Books: Twenty Shilling Series, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved on 16 April 2017.
  3. ^ The History of A&C Black Publishers, archive.org. Retrieved on 16 April 2017.
  4. ^ Cliff Tomaszewski, "A. & C. Black's 20/- Colour Books", Stella and Rose's Books. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  5. ^ FOB: Firms Out of Business, utexas.edu. Retrieved 16 April 2017.

External links

  • ACBlack - archive.org copy of the site as it was on 15 January 2010.
  • ACBlack.com corporate history
  • Bloomsbury Publishing corporate structure
  • Bloomsbury Publishing corporate history
  • Whitaker's Almanack
  • A & C Black Colour Books: Twenty Shilling Series

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