Columbia University acquires rare Ballantine Books collection

Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library has announced Betty Ballantine’s gift of a collection of books and papers relating the work of her and her late husband Ian in their long and distinguished careers in publishing.

The gift includes a nearly complete run of Penguin titles in pristine condition, along with a full set of Ballantine and Bantam paperbacks, in equally fine condition, as well as an archive of the Ballantines’ work as an independent publishing team after the sale of their company to Random House.

Ballantine Books revolutionized the paperback industry, sparking a new mass market in publishing. They were one of the earliest publishers of science fiction paperbacks; they published the first authorized paperback editions of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s books in the ’60s.

The Ballantines sold their business to Random House in 1973 but continued as independent agents, editors, and publishers for another twenty years.

The gift of books and archives strengthens the Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s considerable resource collection in the areas of publishing and book history.

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