Frederick Warne & Co

Frederick Warne & Co

Frederick Warne & Co was a British publishing firm famous for children's books, particularly those of Beatrix Potter. It was founded in 1865 by a bookseller, who gave his own name to the firm.


During the second half of the nineteenth century, Warne's firm had built a good reputation for publishing children's books, publishing illustrated books by well-known authors and artists as Edward Lear, Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane. Toward the end of the century, Frederick Warne had retired, and left the firm to his three sons, Harold, Fruing and Norman.

Warne was among the six publishers to which Beatrix Potter submitted her first book, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit". Like the other five firms, Warne turned the proposal down. But the people at the firm changed their minds, when they saw the privately published copy in 1901. They said they would publish the book, as long as the illustrations were drawn in colour. The next year, Warne published "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", and by Christmas it had sold 20,000 copies. This began a 40-year partnership which saw the publication of 22 additional little books. Beatrix Potter was engaged to marry Norman Warne, her editor and the youngest of the three Warne brothers. However, he died tragically in 1905, only a few weeks after their engagement. Harold, the eldest brother, took over as Potter's editor. She continued to produce one or two new Little Books each year for the next eight years until her marriage in 1913 to William Heelis. During the next few years Potter turned her attention to her farm work, but when the company fell on hard times and Harold was imprisoned for embezzlement, she came to the rescue with another new title to support "the old firm." Potter, who had no children, left the rights to her works to Warne upon her death. The company continued to publish them; it also brought out several biographical works about its most renowned author. Over the years, Warne also expanded its non-fiction publishing, issuing among others the world-famous Observer books. In 1983, Warne was bought by Penguin books. It began developing classic book-based children's character brands. The merchandising program was expanded from a base of 35 licenses to more than 400 by the late 1990s. Over the years, Warne acquired a variety of other classic books.

Beatrix Potter Books

The twenty three books Warne published by Beatrix Potter were mainly written about animals, and were written from 1902-1930.

*"The Tale of Peter Rabbit" (1902)
*"The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin" (1903)
*"The Tailor of Gloucester" (1903)
*"The Tale of Benjamin Bunny" (1904)
*"The Tale of Two Bad Mice" (1904)
*"The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle" (1905)
*"The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan" (1905)
*"The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher" (1906)
*"The Story of A Fierce Bad Rabbit" (1906)
*"The Story of Miss Moppet" (1906)
*"The Tale of Tom Kitten" (1907)
*"The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck" (1908)
*"The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or, The Roly-Poly Pudding" (1908)
*"The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies" (1909)
*"The Tale of Ginger and Pickles" (1909)
*"The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse" (1910)
*"The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes" (1911)
*"The Tale of Mr. Tod" (1912)
*"The Tale of Pigling Bland" (1913)
*"Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes" (1917)
*"The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse" (1918)
*"Cecily Parsley's Nursery Rhymes" (1922)
*"The Fairy Caravan" (1929)
*"The Tale of Little Pig Robinson" (1930)

Observer's Books

From 1937 to 2003, Warne published small, pocket sized books, which were available on many subjects. The aim of these books were to interest the observer. They were called the Observer's books. These books were very popular amongst children. Over the past few years they have become very popular collector items. The first Observer guide was published in 1937, and was on the subject of British Birds. The same year, Warne published a second book, on British Wild Flowers. By 1941, Warne had published the first six Observer's books. In 1942, a special edition book was bought out on Airplanes. This book had no number in the series, as it was bought out to help people spot enemy planes during World War 2. It was printed again in 1943, and in 1945. When Warne was acquired by Penguin books in 1983, Warne brought out new editions of the Observer's books.

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