Welcome to PENGUIN FIRST EDITIONS
The largest Penguin Book Reference Site on the Web
☆ 150 pages of information: lists of books, cover designers and translators, and other material, with over 8,300 entries and over 8,500 images.
NEW pages on
PENGUIN (NEW) OBSERVER BOOKS, 1987-9 with thanks to Paul Lickiss and
HORWITZ PENGUINS (Australia) 1961-3 with thanks to Chris Holland
*NOW FULLY COMPREHENSIVE* lists of over 1,250 Designers, Illustrators, Artists and Photographers who created or are featured on Penguin BOOK COVERS (see light blue tab/link on left)
*UPDATED* complete lists of nearly 350 TRANSLATORS (use yellow tab/link on left)
*EXTENDED ENTRY* on HISTORY OF PENGUIN BOOKS
OUR TENTH ANNIVERSARY
Work on this site first began in January 2013 and over the years we have gradually enlarged and developed the site contents.
Intended originally to cover the early Penguin Years, 1935 - 1956, we then expanded to include books published up to around 1970. With the development of the new section on Penguin Education, books from the later 1970s are also included.
This is ongoing work, with Penguin Education 'X' series to be continued to 1,000, and further expansion of the Penguin Classics 'L' and Peregrines 'Y' series. And, for 2023, a new page Penguin Observer Books.
We would like to thank all those who have contributed ideas and suggestions, information and corrections, and additional images to help make the site more complete and definitive. Thanks are also due to the archivists at the PRH Archive for their help and in facilitating my incursions into their stacks of books.
Every year some 15-20,000 users hop 200,000 times around our site, consulting about 70,000 times on one of our 150 pages of entries, lists and information. The vast majority are from English speaking nations: UK, USA, Australia and Canada, but we are also viewed by people from an average of 130 countries each year.
At the moment just over half of our visitors still view us from their desktop equipment, but a growing number now find us from their mobile devices. From wherever you come and however you view us there are over 8,000 early Penguin titles and even more images to be found on this website. We hope you will enjoy your voyage of discovery.
This website provides an easy to use comprehensive resource for Penguin lovers everywhere!
A unique reference site for Penguin Book collectors and researchers - with lists and images of early Penguin and vintage Penguin books. There are also alphabetical lists of designers and translators. Plus pages on Penguin Ephemera, Classified Booklists and Penguin Progress, and lists of the Penguin Collectors Society publications.
This site is a free information resource on Penguin First Edition books (or Penguin First Impressions) - those lovely early and vintage Penguin paperbacks which have now become very collectable!
The site includes detailed lists of books, photographs and information on all of the early Penguin Books - usually thought of as the first 21 years of publishing - from 1935 to 1956, although we also list books and/or series running into the 1960s and 1970s.
You can access the various series from the WEBSITE CONTENTS.
LIST OF ALL PENGUIN SERIES
You can also view a list of all the 'PENGUIN SERIES' (also accessed from the green tab on the left) of all the books and periodicals series published by Penguin from 1935. In the list you will find those series already included in our data-base are entered in CAPITAL letters. Just click on that to take you to the relevant series. Each page contains information, with titles and photographs of covers. Alternatively, you can view the list in chronological order of creation at CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF SERIES
There is also a growing section on The HISTORY of Penguin Books.
This website is intended to provide a resource for those who are collecting PENGUIN BOOKS, researching PENGUIN BOOKS or are just interested or fascinated by them and want to know more.
It should be of help to researchers and collectors. All of the series produced by Penguin are collected - and some books are much rarer than others and have become prized by the cognoscenti. Although many thousands of copies were made of most books, some have almost but disappeared - hence their rarity and high value. However, for many of us, it is that familiar look and feel that brings warmth. This web-site is for those who love PENGUIN BOOKS or simply want to find out more about them.
Penguin No. 1
Penguin No. 1,000
First Pelican (A1)
LIST OF ALL SERIES - and a link to the information
MAIN SERIES 1 - 3,000
The first ten were published in July 1935 and sold for 6d.(six pence) each. By 30 July 1954 Penguin had published Number 1,000. We have listed the complete run to 3,000, the final book being Ulysses by James Joyce, pubished in April 1969. The listings take the publication date to around 1970.
Penguin used the colours of the cover to signify different types of book:
Fiction were in Orange covers
Biography in Dark Blue
Crime/Detection in Green
Travel and Adventure in Cerise
Plays in Red
Miscellaneous in Yellow
Essays and Belles Lettres in a Light Purple
World Affairs in Grey.
PELICANS 1 - 1,000
Penguin published PELICANS from May 1937. These were in their familiar light blue and white covers. We list the first 1,000 which were published up to early 1969.
This was a very fine set of illustrated hardbacks - The KING PENGUIN series. The series began in November 1939 and the final book, number 76 was published in 1959. This series has become very collectable.
This site would like to acknowledge the help provided by Helen Beardsley and the staff at the Archives and Special Collections section of Stirling University Library which houses the Mitchell Penguin Collection, a collection of some 3,500 Penguin Books collected by Dr Angus Mitchell (a former Chair of the University Court). [see 'Useful Links' page]
We also acknowledge the assistance of the Penguin Random House Archive and Library, Nicki Carter and Catherine Flynn at Rushden; and previously Sue Payne at Rugby.
We would like to thank Hannah Lowery, Archivist at the Special Collections, University of Bristol Library for her help. [also to be found on the 'Useful Links' page]
We also are grateful for the co-operation of the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh Library, in accessing their Penguin Book Collection.
PENGUIN BOOKS UK
penguinfirsteditions.com particularly wishes to acknowledge with grateful thanks the kind permission of Penguin Books Ltd. (UK) to reproduce its book covers and, where incorporated, its various logos. We would wish to point out to users of this site that, as appropriate, Penguin Books Ltd. and its designers retain their copyright and/or intellectual property in the relevant material.
Please make your selection from the menus on the left side of this page to access the information resources.
If you prefer, you can alternatively browse the website from this sitemap.