Burns & Oates

Burns & Oates was a British Roman Catholic publishing house which most recently existed as an imprint of Continuum.

Burns & Oates
Parent companyContinuum
FounderJames Burns
Defunctunknown Edit this on Wikidata
SuccessorBloomsbury Academic
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationLondon
Publication typesBooks

Company historyEdit

It was founded by James Burns[1] in 1835, originally as a bookseller. Burns was of Presbyterian background and he gained a reputation as a High Church publisher, producing works by the Tractarians.

In 1847 his business was put in jeopardy when he converted to Catholicism, but the firm was fortunate to receive the support of John Henry Newman, who chose the firm to publish many of his works. The clerics Thomas Edward Bridgett and Ambrose St. John claimed that Newman wrote his novel Loss and Gain specifically to assist Burns.[2]

After a while trading as Burns, James Burns took a partner, renaming the company Burns & Lambert. In 1866 they were joined by a younger man, William Wilfred Oates, making the company Burns, Lambert & Oates and later Burns & Oates. Oates was another Catholic convert, and had previously co-founded the publishing house of Austin & Oates based in Bristol. Burns & Oates passed to his son Wilfred Oates, whose sister Mother Mary Salome became one of the firm’s most successful authors. The company was designated "Publishers to the Holy See" by Pope Leo XIII.

In the United States the company's agent was The Catholic Publications Society of New York.

Book seriesEdit

  • The Bellarmine Series
  • The Bible for Children
  • Cardinal Books
  • Catholic Bibliographical Series
  • Clarion Books
  • The Clifton Tracts
  • Early Christian Series
  • Faith and Fact Books: Catholic Truth in the Scientific Age Series
  • Golden Library
  • Herder History of Dogma Series
  • A History of Philosophy
  • The History of the Primitive Church
  • Leisure Crafts Series
  • Nature & Science Series for Children
  • The New Library of Catholic Knowledge
  • The Orchard Books
  • Paternoster Series
  • Present Problems Series
  • Quaestiones Disputatae
  • Scripture Textbooks for Catholic Schools
  • Vision Book Series


  1. ^ Brian Alderson, Some Notes on James Burns as a Publisher of Children's Books, Bulletin John Rylands Library, escholar.manchester.ac.uk, p. 122. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  2. ^ Newman, John Henry, Saint (2012). Loss and gain : the story of a convert. Trevor Lipscombe. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. xviii. ISBN 978-1-58617-705-8. OCLC 774493148.

Further readingEdit

  • Wilfrid Wilberforce, The House of Burns and Oates. London: Burns and Oates, 1908.
  • (Michael Trappes-Lomax), Early Chapters in the History of Burns and Oates. London: privately printed, 1949.

External linksEdit