Macmillan celebrates 175 years of publishing in 2018

12 February 2018


In 2018 Macmillan will celebrate 175 years since its inception by entrepreneurial brothers, David and Alexander Macmillan. Throughout the year Pan Macmillan, Springer Nature and Macmillan companies around the world will join together to celebrate the joint heritage with events, initiatives to support independent bookshops, and a special new edition of a best loved book.The Golden Treasury of the Best Songs & Lyrical Poems in the English Language, edited by Francis Turner Palgrave will be published as part of the Macmillan Collector's Library in October, and will feature a foreword by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. 

Reflecting on a rich and fascinating heritage and the foundations established by two entrepreneurial and inspiring brothers, Daniel and Alexander, today, the Macmillan companies will use the occasion to celebrate the distinct family feel and personality of the business. Activities planned throughout the year will remind everyone of the passion and commitment that has brought Pan Macmillan, Palgrave Macmillan and Macmillan Education to where they are today, while showcasing a long-standing commitment to storytelling, entertaining, sharing ideas and engaging curious minds.

From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Jungle Book and the poetry of Yeats and Rossetti, to Casino Royale, Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Gruffalo, Macmillan companies have published some of the best-loved fiction and children’s books of all time, an extraordinary list which continues to be expanded by Pan Macmillan and Macmillan Children’s Books today.

They have also produced a wealth of globally influential educational, non-fiction, academic and reference texts, including the science journal Nature, Nesfield’s Manual of English Grammar, The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, The Statesman’s Yearbook and Keynes’ General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. As part of Springer Nature, Palgrave Macmillan continues to publish award-winning research across the humanities, social sciences and business, while Macmillan Education supports students, teachers and institutions through a lifetime of learning by providing them with world-class content in the most relevant and engaging formats.

Today Macmillan books, products and services are enjoyed by children and adults in over 120 countries, and, according to its employees around the globe, continues to feel a very special place to work.

“From a small seed…”: The history of Macmillan

Macmillan was founded by two brothers Daniel and Alexander Macmillan, the sons of Scottish crofters, in London in 1843. Their story is inspiring – with no formal education and continuously embattled by illness in the case of Daniel Macmillan, they established a company while aged just 30 and 25. Opening a bookshop in February 1843 and publishing their first two titles by November of the same year, the company grew to become one of the largest publishing houses in the world by the turn of the 20th century, with offices in Australia, Canada, India and the United States of America.

2018 also marks the bicentenary of Alexander Macmillan’s birth on 3 October 1918. Taking over the business after Daniel’s death in 1857, Macmillan’s early success can be attributed to Alexander’s wide-ranging curiosity, his generosity towards authors and colleagues, his business acumen and a life-long passion for reading, learning and books. Passed down through Daniel and Alexander’s children and colleagues, Macmillan publishers continue to embody these characteristics today.

By 1999, the various companies founded by the Macmillan Family – including the independent US publishing house – were brought back together under the shared ownership of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, another independent, family-owned publisher based in Stuttgart, Germany.

Known for innovation

The science and education businesses led the way with the launch of the world’s leading science journal, Nature and continue to innovate with new, flexible formats for learning.  Macmillan has also made its mark globally through affordable introductory textbooks written by experts, pioneering and interactive teaching tools, educational titles catering for international markets, and one of the first ELT online learning platforms, Macmillan English Campus.

The company was responsible for launching one of the world’s first monthly literary magazines, Macmillan’s Magazine, a publication which was the result of the brothers’ belief that a publisher should be at the heart of the conversation about books and reading. Recently Pan Macmillan has also been recognised for innovations in marketing, bringing books to readers who engage with their passions and interests online, for example launching the first publisher-run book vlog, Bookbreak in 2012. The publisher has also won awards for its innovation in production and design, including new children’s book formats.


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