From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Macmillan Publishers Ltd, also known as The Macmillan Group, is a privately-held international publishing company owned by Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. It has offices in 41 countries worldwide and operates in more than thirty others.
Macmillan was founded in 1843 by Daniel and Alexander Macmillan, two brothers from the Isle of Arran, Scotland. Daniel was the business brain, while Alexander laid the literary foundations, publishing such great authors as Charles Kingsley (1855), Thomas Hughes (1859), Francis Turner Palgrave (1861), Christina Rossetti (1862), Matthew Arnold (1865) and Lewis Carroll (1865). Alfred Tennyson joined the list in 1884, Thomas Hardy in 1886 and Rudyard Kipling in 1890.
As the company evolved, the brothers' vision continued to inspire the publishing of major writers including W.B. Yeats, Sean O'Casey, John Maynard Keynes, Charles Langbridge Morgan, Hugh Walpole, Margaret Mitchell, C.P. Snow, Rumer Godden and Ram Sharan Sharma.
Beyond literature, their vision led to the creation of such enduring titles as Nature (1869), the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1877) and Sir Robert Palgrave's "Dictionary of Political Economy" (1894-99).
After retiring from politics in 1964, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Harold Macmillan became chairman of the company. After his death, his grandson Alexander Macmillan, 2nd Earl of Stockton became head of the company.
The company was one of the oldest independent publishing houses until 1995 when a 70% share of the company was bought by German media giant Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group (Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH). Holtzbrinck purchased the remaining shares in 1999, ending the Macmillan family's ownership of the company.
Macmillan in the United States
George Edward Brett opened the first Macmillan office in the United States in 1869 and Macmillan sold its U.S. operations to the Brett family, George Platt Brett, Sr. and George Platt Brett, Jr. in 1896, resulting in the creation of an American company, Macmillan Publishing. Previously, Mr. Brett managed the U. S. subsidiary, which his grandfather George Edward Brett created in 1896. Even with the split of the American company from its parent company in England, George Brett, Jr. and Harold MacMillan remained close personal friends.Mr. George P. Brett, Jr. made the following comments in a letter dated 23 January 1947 to Daniel Macmillan about his family's devotion to the American Publishing Industry:
For the record my grandfather was employed by Macmillan's of England as a salesman. He came to the United States with his family in the service of Macmillan's of England and built up a business of approximately $50,000 before he died. He was succeeded . . . by my father, who eventually incorporated The Macmillan Company of New York and built up business of about $9,000,000. I succeeded my father, and we currently doing a business of approximately $12,000,000. So then, the name of Brett and the name of Macmillan have been and are synonymous in the United States.
Under the leadership of the Brett family, MacMillan served as the publisher of American authors, Winston Churchill, Margaret Mitchell, who wrote "Gone with the Wind", and Jack London, author of "White Fang" and "Call of the Wild".
The Bretts remained in control of the American offices of Macmillan from its creation in 1869 to the early 1960s, “a span matched by few other families in the history of United States business.”
Through its merger with Crowell Collier and other acquisitions, the U.S. publisher became a media giant in its own right, as Macmillan, Inc. It was acquired by the controversial British tycoon Robert Maxwell in 1989 and eventually dismembered in the wake of Maxwell's death (1991) and the subsequent bankruptcy proceedings.
Pearson acquired the Macmillan name in America since 1998, following its purchase of the Simon & Schuster educational and professional group (which included various Macmillan properties). Holtzbrinck purchased it from them in 2001.. However, McGraw-Hill continues to market its pre-kindergarten through elementary school titles under its Macmillan/McGraw-Hill brand. U.S. operations of Georg von Holtzbrinck are now known as Macmillan.
The company is made up of over 50 different divisions operating in five areas of publishing:
- Education publishing including English language teaching (as Macmillan Education)
- Academic publishing including reference (as Palgrave Macmillan)
- Science, technological and medical publishing (as Nature Publishing Group), including Nature and other journals
- Fiction and non-fiction book publishing (as Pan Macmillan), under the imprints Pan Books, Picador, Macmillan New Writing, Papermac, Macmillan, Sidgwick & Jackson, Campbell Books, Boxtree, Ltd., and Macmillan Children’s Books
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