Lifetime: 1876 - 1923 Passed: ≈ 100 years ago





Herbert George Jenkins

Herbert George Jenkins was a British writer and the owner of the publishing company Herbert Jenkins Ltd, which published many of P. G. Wodehouse's novels.

Jenkins' parents came from Norfolk and, according to his obituary in The Times, he was educated at Greyfriars College. He began work as a journalist and then spent some 11 years at The Bodley Head before founding his own publishing house in 1912. He remained unmarried and died at the age of 47, on 8 June 1923 after a six-month-long illness, in Marylebone, London.

In 1912 Jenkins founded his own publishing company: Herbert Jenkins Limited. Its offices were in a narrow, 19th-century building with five floors in Duke of York Street, just off Jermyn Street in London. It was a successful business from the start because of Jenkins' unique ability (at the time) to cater for the ever-changing public taste. He also had a good eye for new talent, not being discouraged if a manuscript had been rejected by other publishers. His publicity methods were innovative, too; with arresting advertisements and dust jackets, and a monthly publication called Wireless, which was widely circulated among his readers. Jenkins' first publication was Willie Riley's first novel Windyridge, and the firm went on to publish most of Riley's 39 books, ending with The Man and the Mountain in 1961, the year of Riley's death. In 1915 Jenkins published A. S. Neill's first book, A Dominie's Log, launching his career as a famous teacher and writer of books on education. Herbert Jenkins Ltd published many of P. G. Wodehouse's novels, starting with Piccadilly Jim in 1918.

By the 1950s—long after Jenkins' death—the company was still being run as a 1930s business might have been. In 1964 it merged with Barrie & Rockcliffe to form Barrie & Jenkins, which continued to publish Wodehouse's novels, but specialised in books about ceramics, pottery and antiques. In 1969 the company published the first of George MacDonald Fraser's popular The Flashman Papers novels after it had been rejected by many other publishers. Barrie & Jenkins had a short commercial history and was taken over by Hutchinson, who were themselves taken over by Century and then by Random House (now owned by Bertelsmann). It continues to exist as a specialist imprint mainly for hardback editions within the Random House stable.

Books by Herbert George Jenkins

Adventures of Bindle Cover image

Adventures of Bindle

Adventure Fiction Novel
Comedy Literature Humorous Fiction Life

Jenkins' most popular fictional creation was Mr. Joseph Bindle, who first appeared in a humorous novel in 1916 and in a number of sequels. In the preface to the books, T. P. O'Connor said that "Bindle is the greatest Cockney that has come into being...

The Night Club Cover image

The Night Club

Young Adventure Comics Comedy Society Humorous Fiction Human Behaviors Social Status

It follows the adventures of a young man named Jimmy Pitt, who finds himself embroiled in a series of hilarious misadventures when he is mistaken for a member of a high-society club. Written in 1918, "The Night Club" is a timeless classic of comedic...

John Dene of Toronto; a Comedy of Whitehall Cover image

John Dene of Toronto; a Comedy of Whitehall

Military Social Satire Culture Witty Civil and Political Rights political Politicians social commentary Resilience Innovations

John Dene of Toronto; a Comedy of Whitehall by Herbert George Jenkins "When a Canadian businessman clashes with the British bureaucracy, chaos and hilarity ensue in this uproarious tale of wit, politics, and unconventional methods. Step into the worl...