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Penguin Collectors Society

About the Penguin Collectors Society

The Penguin Collectors Society was founded in 1973 by a small band of enthusiasts meeting in Richmond, Surrey. When the first Newsletter was published in 1974, membership stood at 38; today there are over 400 members worldwide. The name Penguin Collectors Society was chosen over The Penguin Book Society at Penguin’s behest so that there was no implication that we were sponsored by the company.

Actually collecting Penguin Books is not, of course, a prerequisite for membership. We define 'collecting' in terms of preservation and conservation and to us a 'Penguin Collector' is someone who recognises and encourages others to recognise the essential importance of Penguin books. However modest the intended life span of an early Penguin book, we feel that these publications revolutionised the publishing industry and it is, therefore, important that they (especially early editions) are no longer simply thrown away. We wish to challenge the perceptions – held even by Allen Lane and the creators of Penguin – that their books were essentially ephemeral.

In 2001 the Society became a charitable company limited by guarantee and in 2002 it was registered as a charity. Since its inception the Society has aimed to encourage and promote the study and collecting of books published during the publishing revolution started by Allen Lane and his brothers at Penguin Books.

We are not a fund-raising charity. Our work for public benefit is funded by member's subscriptions and by sales of our publications, but overwhelmingly in effect by pro bono research, writing, administration and other contributions from our members.

To support our charitable aims, we publish learned, quality books for members which are also available for purchase by the general public. We also sponsor bursaries and assist with the acquisition of archive and historical material relevant to our field. This material is then gifted or loaned to university libraries and collections where they will be available for educational and research purposes. While many of our members are collectors, to be a private collector has never been a prerequisite for membership and any enthusiast of typography, book design, illustration and writing will find considerable interest in the Society’s work.

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