A & C Black

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

A & C Black
Parent companyBloomsbury Publishing
Founded1807; 214 years ago (1807)
FounderAdam Black and Charles Black
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationLondon
Publication typesBooks
Nonfiction topicsReference
Official websitewww.acblack.com


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

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.[6]

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 moved to Collins Learning, a division of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Notable booksEdit

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

Book seriesEdit

  • Artist's Sketch Book Series
  • Ballet Pocket Series (Newman Wolsey; then: A. & C. Black)[7]
  • Black's Guides
  • Black's Junior Reference Books
  • Black's Novel Library[8]
  • Black's Popular Series of Colour Books
  • Black's School History
  • Black's "Water-colour" series
  • Colour Books: The 7s. 6d. Net Series
  • Colour Books: The 6s. Net Series
  • Colour Books: The 10s. Net Series
  • Colour Books: The 20s. Net Series
  • Dancers of To-day
  • The Fascination of London[9]
  • Guild Text-books
  • Know the Game
  • The Making of the Nations[10]
  • Peeps at Ancient Civilisations
  • Peeps at Great Cities
  • Peeps at Great Explorers
  • Peeps at Great Men
  • Peeps at Great Railways
  • Peeps at History
  • Peeps at Industries
  • Peeps at Many Lands
  • Peeps at Nature
  • Peeps at Nature for Little Children
  • Peeps for Little People
  • The Peeps Series (sometimes called: Miscellaneous Peeps series)
  • Social Life in England



  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.
  6. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/10/charles-black-obituary
  7. ^ Ballet Pocket Series (Newman Wolsey Ltd; then: A. & C. Black) - Book Series List, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  8. ^ bibliogroup:Black's Novel Library, Google Books. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  9. ^ Sir Walter Besant and G. E. Mitton, The Fascination of London: Holburn and Bloomsbury, London: Adam & Charles Black, 1903 (The Fascination of London series), archive.org. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  10. ^ The Making of the Nations (A. & C. Black) - Book Series List, publishinghistory.com. Retrieved 31 January 2020.

Further readingEdit

  • Colin Inman, The A & C Black Colour Books: A Collector's Guide and Bibliography 1900-1930, London: Werner Shaw, 1990.

External linksEdit