(Franklin Thomas) Grant Richards 1872-1948.
Grant Richards was born on the 21st October, 1872 at University Hall, Patrick, Lanarkshire. He was the first of two children of Franklin and Emily Richards. Franklin Richards taught at Glasgow and the Oxford University, which led to Grant first attending school at Langdale House in Oxford in 1880, and later the City of London School. His Uncle Grant Allen first recognised Grants interest in print and arranged for him to begin his career in a wholesale book company. Grant worked there until 1890 when his Uncle obtained a new position for him on the 'Review of Reviews'
Grant formed his own publishing house in 1897 from offices at Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London. A year later he married his first wife Elisina and they had four children, Gerard, Geoffrey, Charles and Gioia. Grant and Elisina were divorced in 1914.
Grant published the first works of many authors, such as George Bernard Shaw, G. K. Chesterton and Arnold Bennett, all of whom later moved to larger publishing houses to further their careers. The company also produced expensive volumes of collected works of Shakespeare and Jane Austen as well as World Classics and the Dumpy books for children. The Dumpy books were a series of small-format books, selected by E. V. Lucas first published by Grant Richards and later by Chatto and Windus. Helen Bannerman's Little Black Sambo was the fourth title in the series. There was a further series entitled The Larger Dumpy Books for Children. As far as I can tell there were just 7 books in this series (see end of article).
The year 1905 saw Grants first declaration of bankruptcy and subsequent financial difficulties led the company to move to smaller premises at St. Martins Street. For a short time after Grants bankruptcy he added his wife's first initial to the company name and traded as E. Grant Richards. He reverted back to the company's original name in 1908.
His first novel, Caviare, was published in 1912, and this was followed by a number of other works of fiction but none of them were a commercial success.
In 1915, he was remarried to Maria Magdalena de Csanady. Grant ran into financial difficulties once more in 1926 and was again forced to declare bankruptcy. He renamed his company The Richards Press and at this point began to extricate himself from the publishing world.
Although Grant was not directly involved in the running of the firm he continued to write fiction, and also undertook the writing of his memoirs, memories of a misspent youth 1872-1896 (William Heinemann Ltd, 1932) and hunting by an old literary sportsman : memories of the years spent mainly in publishing 1897-1925 (New York: Coward McCann, 1934).
Grant Richards died on the 24th February 1948.
Dumpy Books Published by Grant Richards 1897 - 1904
No. 1 The Flamp, the Ameliorator and the schoolboy's apprentice by E. V. Lucas (Grant Richards, 1897)
No. 2 Mrs Turner's Cautionary Stories (Grant Richards, 1897)
No. 3 The bad family and other stories by Mrs Fenwick (Grant Richards, 1899)
No. 4 The story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman (Grant Richards, 1899)
No. 5 The bountiful lady by Thomas Cobb (Grant Richards, 1900)
No. 6 A cat book by E. V. Lucas (illustrated by H. Officer Smith) (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 7 A flower book by Eden Coybee (illustrated by Nellie Benson) Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 8 The pink knight by J. R. Monsell (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 9 The little clown by Thomas Cobb (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 10 A horse book by Mary Tourtel (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 11 Little people an alphabet by T. W. H. Crosland (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 12 A dog book by Ethel Bicknell (illustrated by C. Moore Park) (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 13 The adventures of Samuel and Selina by Jean C. Archer (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 14 The little lost girl by Eleanor Raper (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 15 Dollies by Richard Hunter (illustrated by Ruth Cobb) (Grant Richards, 1902)
No 16 The bad Mrs. Giner by Honor C. Appleton (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1902)
No 17 Peter Piper's practical principles (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 18 The Little White Barbara (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 19 Japanese Dumpy (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 20 Towlocks and his wooden horse by Alice Appleton(illustrated by Honor C. Appleton) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 21 The three little foxes by Mary Tourtel (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 22 The old man's bag by T. W. H. Crosland (illustrated by J. R. Monsell) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 23 The three goblins by M. G. Taggart (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 24 Dumpy proverbs by Honor C. Appleton (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 25 More dollies by Richard Hunter (illustrated by Ruth Cobb) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 26 Little yellow Wang-Lo by M.C. Bell (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 27 Plain Jane (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 28 The sooty man (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 29 Fishy Winkle by Jean Archer (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 30 Rosalind (Grant Richards, 1904)
No. 31 Sammy and the Snarliwink (Grant Richards, 1904)
No. 32 The motor car Dumpy book by T. W. H. Crosland (illustrated by J. R. Monsell) (Grant Richards, 1904)
No. 33 Irene's Christmas party by Richard Hunter (illustrated by Ruth Cobb) (Grant Richards, 1904)
Grant Richards produced a further series from around 1901 entitled The Larger Dumpy Books for Children. Large 8vo, grey cloth, gilt, originally priced at 2/6. With approximately 145 pages.
I am unsure how many titles there were in this series and have so far found only seven as follows –
I. The Six Inch Admiral by George A. Best illustrated from (50) photographs by C. H. Park
II. Holidays and Happy Days by E. Florence Mason and Hamish Hendry. 24 colour illustrations by E. Florence Mason.
III. Pillow Stories by S. L. Heward and Gertrude M. Bradley illustrated
IV. About Faires and Other Facts by Maud Stawell 4 black and white illustrations by Eleanor March
V. Baby Jane’s Mission by Reginald Parnell with 50 illustrations
VI. The Rose and the Ring or the History of Prince Giglio and Prince Bulbo (a fireside pantomime for great and small children) by W. M. Thackeray. 50 illustrations
VII. Merry Mr. Punch by Gertrude M. Bradley and Hamish Hendry. 24 colour illustrations by Gertrude M. Bradley.
Thanks to a recent telephone call we can add another title to The Dumpy Books Series;
The Coronation dumpy book pictures by Patten Wilson text by T.W.H.Crosland. London (1902)
If we have any dumpy books in stock you will find them here
If you wish to read more articles, please return to the INDEX