Home University Library of Modern Knowledge

The title page of the first book in the series, Parliament: Its History, Constitution and Practice by Courtenay Ilbert, 1911.

The Home University Library of Modern Knowledge was a series of popular non-fiction books from the first half of the twentieth century that ran to over 200 volumes. The authors were eminent scholars in their fields and included Isaiah Berlin, Harold J. Laski, Hilaire Belloc, Bertrand Russell and John Masefield.


The first book in the series was Parliament: Its History, Constitution and Practice by Courtenay Ilbert, published in 1911 by Williams and Norgate in London and Henry Holt and Company in New York.[1] The general editors were H.A.L. Fisher and Gilbert Murray. The idea for the series came from George Herbert Perris who was the assistant editor.[2]

Bought by Oxford University Press

In 1928 the series was bought for £10,700 by Thornton Butterworth from Williams and Norgate. Oxford University Press were the under-bidder. Oxford had another chance to buy the series when the offices of Thornton Butterworth were destroyed in The Blitz in 1940. Eyre & Spottiswoode took most of the Thornton Butterworth business but Oxford were able to acquire the Home University Library for only £4750. G.N Clark replaced H.A.L. Fisher as one of the editors. By 1940, the series was becoming a little stale. It was nearly 30 years old and a number of titles in the series were selling only 100s each year. Despite this, total sales of Home University Library volumes were one million volumes over 80 titles in the first two years following the acquisition by Oxford. The series helped the university reach a wider audience and as a non-fiction series was complementary to The World's Classics which reprinted great works of literary fiction.[2][3]

Later years

In 1966,[4] the series was renamed OPUS (Oxford Paperback University Series).[2] New titles continue to be published under that name by Oxford University Press.

See also


  1. ^ O’Leary, M.R. & D S. O’Leary (2015). R. D. O’Leary (1866–1936): Notes from Mount Oread, 1914–1915. Bloomington: iUniverse. p. 207. ISBN 978-1-4917-5873-1.
  2. ^ a b c Sutcliffe, Peter H. (2002). The Oxford University Press: An Informal History. Reissued and corrected edition. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 250–251. ISBN 978-0-19-951084-9.
  3. ^ Flanders, Amy, "The press in London, 1896-1970" in William Roger Louis (Ed.) (2013). History of Oxford University Press: Volume III: 1896 to 1970. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-19-956840-6.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Denniston, R.A., "Publishing and Bookselling" in Brian Harrison (Ed.) (1994). The History of the University of Oxford: Volume VIII: The Twentieth Century. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 458. ISBN 978-0-19-822974-2.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

External links

This page was last updated at 2019-11-12 17:30 UTC. Update now. View original page.

All our content comes from Wikipedia and under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.


If mathematical, chemical, physical and other formulas are not displayed correctly on this page, please useFirefox or Safari