State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 70 Spring 2002


Photographer unknown. Henry Lawson c. 1907. Lothian Papers, La Trobe Australian Manuscripts Collection.


Thomas C. Lothian
Lawson's Melbourne Publisher

Henry Lawson first appeared as a Lothian author in 1911, when his stories Mateship and The Stranger's Friend were published in the Lothian Miniature series. Although T.C. Lothian had begun publishing only six years earlier — most of his business was representing overseas publishers — there were already numerous titles bearing his imprint. His catalogue of 1912 was largely literary,1 containing no fewer than 32 books of poetry in a total of 64 titles. By contrast, Lothian Books has 109 new titles in its 2002 Catalogue alone and a substantial back-list, of which about half are children's story-and-picture books and ‘young adult’ fiction, the remainder being adult books of Australian and general interest, health and personal development, home and garden. Now in the hands of the fourth generation (the third in publishing), the firm celebrated in 1988 the centenary of its establishment in Melbourne by John Inglis Lothian. December 2005 will see the centenary of its publishing founded by John's son, Thomas Carlyle Lothian (1880-1974). His background and career have been well surveyed by Stuart Sayers,2 but this Henry Lawson issue offers an opportunity to examine more closely the early period when, as John Arnold describes (pp. 19-30), Lawson entered Lothian's list.
Lothian admired literary people and was drawn to the societies formed to discuss and promote their works. Much prose and verse appeared in journals, but in 1905 book publishing was another matter. In Melbourne E.W. Cole continued to publish books of amusement, instruction and reform, Whitcombe & Tombs had since 1903 produced juvenile and educational books and a few others besides, George Robertson's old firm was run by bankers; and Bernard O'Dowd could refer to ‘the stagnation that has for many years affected publishing energies in Victoria'.3 Sydney too could be discouraging. A.C. Rowlandson's N.S.W. Bookstall Co. accommodated many light fiction writers; but even Angus & Robertson was likely at this time to tell enquiring authors that the publishing department was ‘too busy’ to consider their MS, that their work would not sell, or (occasionally) that they should try a London publisher.4 The Bulletin's publishing was soon to be quiescent. It is not surprising that of those published by Lothian in his earliest years and who went on to be published by others, a number published their first titles through him.5
By late 1905, when Thomas Lothian was appearing in the trade as an educational publishers’ representative in his own name, he was ready to start publishing himself. In October and November he sought printers’ quotes in Sydney and Melbourne for a new edition of The Insectivorous Birds of Victoria, with Chapters on Birds More or Less Useful, published in Melbourne by its author Robert Hall in 1900. Issued by the
Victorian Education Department to its schools, perhaps it promised steady sale. However, it did not appear.
In November 1905 also, Lothian heard Bernard O'Dowd read part of his new poem The Silent Land to the Literary Society of Melbourne. His offer to publish it being accepted, he already hoped for ‘a long and happy combination'.6 He proposed ‘practically the half-profit system', retaining publishing rights for seven years, when all rights would revert to the author. But by then, he wrote, ‘I hope that we shall have other matters between us, and both be satisfied with our mutual contract'. O'Dowd agreed, chose additional verses and contributed suggestions as to typeface and outer cover. Printed by D.W. Paterson Co., the resulting 8vo booklet was ready for Christmas 1905 (bearing 1906 as the year of publication), selling at one shilling. In January 1907 he became Lothian's first reader.7 By 1912 eight O'Dowd booklets had appeared, including two reprints.8
Late in 1906 Lothian launched a publishing programme, which in the following year involved him in a level of activity unforeseen and overwhelming. ‘When I started this publishing', he wrote in October 1907 to John Le Gay Brereton of Sydney University:
I thought my limit was to be 4 books per year. But the external force was too great and I have been drawn by good folk like yourself into a regular maelstrom of publishing, keeping a special press working regularly up to 15 hours a day paying them £150 a month, imposing worries upon myself and altogether making me, in my present condition, long to get out of it’.
We might suppose Lothian's entry into publishing to be simply the response of a young man desiring an independent activity, attracted to the world of letters and having the means to distribute books, to writers eager for exposure. ‘My heart has always been in this publishing business', he wrote to T.C. Wollaston in December 1914, when turning the business into a Company; and to G.A. Osboldstone a year later, in December 1915,'…The T.C. Lothian publishing business was never run as a straight out and out commercial venture, but only as serving to keep him in touch with the literary section of the community.’
We need not doubt him, but in 1913 he throws new light on the matter, though too little for us to perceive the detail. At the least, we are reminded that he had started without capital, while heavily engaged in securing sales for overseas publishers (an activity necessitating frequent journeys); and that his father had not welcomed this sideline9 which seemed a diversion from the firm's primary purpose and, perhaps, in conflict with it. ‘This publishing business', he wrote on 15 May, urging his London agent J. Westrope's discretion in seeking an English publisher for his books, ‘is run for one or two outside men on a commission just as I handle an English Publisher's books … and of course [I] do not want to raise in any of their minds the thought that I am giving more attention to this publishing than to the selling of their goods'. Again, on 1 July, he told A.G. Stephens:
… the beginning of my publishing was not on my own account, but to cover another person in the trade's operations. I worked my publishing the same as I worked Nelson's agency, and got a commission and subsidy for all that I did. However, it is now entirely my own business absolutely’.
Though not a transparent phrase, ‘the trade's operations’ suggests that we must look to the book-trade for the identity of this individual wishing to publish without appearing to do so.
One candidate is W.T. Pyke of Cole's Book Arcade, Lothian's friend and an important customer who was (as Stuart Sayers suggests10) associated with his affairs from time to time. E.W. Cole's name as distributor appears with Lothian's as publisher on the first of the ten Nugget Booklets (‘Reprints from the World's Literature') produced for the Christmas trade 1906, Maxims and Moral Reflections by Francois La Rochefoucauld. Most of the later titles appeared under both the Lothian and the Cole imprints. Such series, preferably of non-copyright matter or with copyright purchased or on low royalty, suitable as gifts and cheap for sale in quantity, would appear over the years. The next such series, the Sunnyside Booklets (not completed), was intended for Christmas 1908. Lothian was overseas for the last months of that year and it was to Pyke that Mrs Hal Stone of the Sydney Partridge Press wrote in February explaining the delay in delivery.
Pyke certainly helped to prepare The Australian Penny Ruskin, a series of extracts in 16-page paper-covered booklets, 17 parts of which appeared in 1907, supplying an edition to ‘fit'. He ‘did a little publishing on his own account', as Lothian informed his printer when seeking an estimate on Pyke's behalf (with a reminder of the 10% commission due to him on introducing this new business). Pyke briefly joined Lothian's mail-order bookselling venture in 1910 and in 1914 took shares (in repayment of a debt) in his Lothian. Book Publishing Co. Pty Ltd.
Another ‘person in the trade's operations’ was H.H. Champion of the Book Lover's Library, editor/proprietor of the Book Lover, and connected with Melbourne's literary societies,11 who used Lothian's services on at least two occasions for books very different from those mentioned above. In November 1906 Champion, already involved in assisting authors to publication, especially in newspapers,12 announced the formation of his own Australasian Authors’ Agency. He had not noticed The Silent Land on its appearance, though a friendly two columns on 1 July 1906 by 1M.E.F.’ (probably Mary E. Fullerton) elucidated its meaning,13 but he warmly welcomed Lothian's productions of 1906 and 1907. In May 1907 Champion forwarded to Lothian a cheque from Herbert H. Wettenhall's for illustrations in his booklet A Trip round the World by an Australian Native (mentioned in the Book Lover), promising to get him to ‘part up’ when Lothian indicated the sum required. Again, without hint of his involvement, he announced Aimee Ingersoll's novel Nancy Drake in May, August and September 1907 to stir interest in its setting, printing and binding, and its author (‘well-known in Melbourne society'). On 27 September he forwarded to Lothian another instalment of the £75 a Mrs. Marshall would pay for printing and binding
(‘cloth, full ornamental') and mouldings, plus £5 for advertising. Champion dealt with correspondence, accounts and printer, and when reviews were severe defended the author and the book. O'Dowd cannot have read it for Lothian, who appears to have been more cautious thereafter. Nancy Drake was soon dropped from his lists.
There is no clear evidence that the literary agent and the publisher co-operated in other ventures. Champion gave publicity to Mabel Forrest, whose novel Carlotta he had placed in the Age,14 and in January 1910 enthusiastically reviewed her verse in Alpha Centauri, produced by Lothian.15 He praised other Lothian books: Dorothy Frances McCrae's Lyrics in Leisure, Mary E. Fullerton's Moods and Melodies: Sonnets and Lyrics and Elinor Mordant's Rosemary;16 but was to a greater or lesser degree critical of others.17 In any case, the Australasian Authors’ Agency itself turned publisher with Dorothea Mackellar's The Closed Door in 1911.
We know that from 1907 Lothian was assisted financially by Herbert Nathaniel Straus, introduced to him by Edwin J. Brady.18 A member of a family prominent in Manchester's Jewish community and uncle of the novelist, bibliographer and private printer Ralph Straus who visited Melbourne in 1907, he was trained in law but had for some years lived in Melbourne, first appearing as a commission agent, later simply as an investor, with interests chiefly in finance and real estate. His assistance by loan and guarantee imposed its own form of dependence; but so far nothing reveals him in the role of principal. Moreover, he remained Lothian's helpful business associate long after 1913. There the question must rest for the present.
While booklets were being prepared in Melbourne for Christmas 1906 (the first Nuggets, Harold Pudney's Isles of Una and Other Verses,19 and Robert Hall's Glimpses of Bird Life20), Lothian was seeking publications in Sydney. He bought Walter Jeffries’ Australian Building Estimator, from publishers’ representative J.A. Ogle and printer W.C. Penfold & Co. Entomologist W.J. Rainbow of the Australian Museum agreed to Lothian's offer to publish his Guide to Australian Butterflies, (provided the Education Department adopted it) on a royalty basis (5% on the first and second thousand, rising to 10% after the fourth). The prospectuses ready in July 1907 featured the first coloured plate to appear in a Lothian publication. The Education Department's book-supplier, Angus & Robertson, reported good orders but from 1909 onward it was selling slowly; in 1913 Lothian wrote of having ‘lost heavily’ on it, while expressing his appreciation of the book. Rainbow's booklet, Mosquitoes: Their Habits and Distribution, which Lothian published in 1908 at one shilling and sixpence, with a penny royalty per copy on the first thousand sold, rising to threepence after the third, appears to have sold readily. In September 1908 he received £5 royalty for both books.21
In December 1906 Bertram Stevens of Sydney was corresponding with Lothian22 concerning the monthly magazine he was to edit and which would include reprinted literary gossip, book-news, prose and verse from the Old World, and original work (Lothian being asked to seek some in Melbourne). He chose the title, The Native Companion, sketched the cover-design completed by D.H. Souter, and thoughtfully approved and modified other details. Unfortunately, A.G. Stephens was also planning
a magazine (The Bookfellow) in which he hoped to interest Lothian. Both appeared early in 1907.
Stevens's contributors included John Le Gay Brereton, D.M. Ross, A.T. Strong, Dorothy McCrae, Enid Derham, J.W. Harbinson, E. Wilson Dobbs, Johannes C. Anderson, and Hugh McCrae. A ‘sober and respectable’ Lawson had offered a satire on A.G. Stephens which was ‘returned of course’ (the MS of the never-published ‘The Birth of Culture in a New Land’ was among the items which Lawson sent to Lothian for inclusion in a volume of prose). Stevens pursued the difficult task of editing remote from his printer. Advertising was elusive; and Lothian hardly encouraging.23

Unknown photographer. Thomas Carlyle Lothian. Lothian Papers.

Meanwhile, Lothian's new neighbour in the Australian Buildings, 49 Elizabeth Street, journalist Edwin J. Brady, promised ‘Everything connected with the Art of Publicity’ through his Common-wealth Press Agency, and was soon invited to edit the Native Companion. Stevens withdrew gracefully, but warned Lothian to bind this man of ‘variable moods’ with an agreement leaving all business matters in his own hands — a warning heeded.24
The partnership agreement of May,25 to run from 1 July, entitled Brady to a half share of profit and a free page to advertise his business; Lothian retained sole financial and literary control, and free advertisement on up to 10 pages, or more with payment by agreement. Brady successfully sought new contributors26 for Volume 2, commencing in July. These included, apart from himself, Randolph Bedford, Louis Esson, Frank Morton, Beatrix Tracy; Sumner Locke (Helena Sumner Locke Elliott who also helped in the office), ‘Sydney Partridge’ (Mrs. Hal Stone), ‘Kodak', (E.F. O'Ferrall), Roderic Quinn, ‘Furnley Maurice’ (Frank Wilmot), W.M. Whitney and Mabel Forrest. Brady's acceptance of Katherine Mansfield's first sketches has made his volume memorable.27 Sass, Benison, Jack and Dora Sommers, Ruby and Percy Lindsay and Laurie Taylor provided illustrations; cover designs were by Ruby Lindsay and Blamire Young.
Later Lothian and others recalled the excitement of his early publishing career. Already a focus for writers’ attention, Lothian was drawn into Melbourne's Bohemia, the gaiety of its meetings, its eating and drinking. It was after a dinner at Fasoli's, according to Brady, that the two discussed their project, and it was here that the first issue was launched that ‘famous night’ (30 July 1907) recalled by R.H. Croll when ‘We had scarcely room to ply our knives and forks, and as the wine went down the voices went up, until all West Melbourne must have known there was “something doing” at Fasoli's'.28 Lothian was a transient in this country of Bohemia, however, and when in December 1907 Frank Williamson privately paid a tribute to his ‘courage in undertaking so many literary affairs'29 the difficulties thus implied were already being forced upon him.
Before the second number appeared (1 September) a new agreement made H.N. Straus a third partner, Brady receiving £5 weekly salary and one-third of any proceeds.30 However, the Christmas issue contained little advertising other than Lothian's and Brady had left for Sydney. ‘The publisher, the lawyer and the Poet were an unequal combination', he recalled. Straus assisted both in clearing up its affairs and obligations incurred in connection with the printer.31
With publishing plans maturing in 1906, Lothian sought a printer to work regularly, preferably only for him and (no doubt) as cheaply as possible. Having obtained quotes for the Nugget Booklets in November, Lothian instructed Hal Stone of Johnstone & Stone's Print Shop in Wrights’ Lane, Melbourne to start on six, confirming an agreement to let Stone print all his booklets (Robert Hall's was printed like his other books by May, Walker & Co.) in return for his advice on their production and his promise not to accept books for printing from any other person.32 Soon, as the Wayside Press, the printery moved to 134 Leicester Street, Fitzroy. Its failure in late 1907 left books uncompleted until after the Christmas season when some were finished by B.R. Gowan.
The Native Companion was at once replaced by another literary magazine (also welcomed at Fasoli's), the quarterly Heart of the Rose, (four issues, December 1907–October 1908) edited by William Mitchell, with O'Dowd actively interested and contributing along with, inter alia, Janet Higgins (Nettie Palmer), F.S. Williamson, Enid Derham, Jessie Mackay, M.E.J. Pitt, and A.T. Strong.
Some magazine contributors hoped for a book. The first to approach Lothian was John Le Gay Brereton of Sydney, in January 1907. Having considered English publication for his ‘little series of poems dealing with family love', he now felt ‘that we Australians should stick at home'; but George Robertson had refused it. His Sea and Sky was announced in Sydney and specimen sheets were being considered before terms were settled. Having angled for a subsidy in vain, Lothian offered in January 1908 to assume the risk, paying a 10% royalty on the published price after 500 had been sold if the price were two shillings and sixpence; if three shillings and sixpence (as it was) then after the sale of 360.
Thereafter, apart from O'Dowd, whose returns were ‘wretched',33 poets and essayists generally had to pay for publication, some part of the cost perhaps returned
on sales. Louis Esson's aversion to paying for ‘the albatross poets … hung about Lothian's neck’ perhaps reduced his contribution to the cost of Bells and Bees (the costs of which Lothian advised him) from the £50 first mentioned to £20, with a royalty payable and the amount to be refunded after the sale of 1000 copies.34 There were exceptional cases. Hugh McCrae, whose Satyrs and Sunlight had appeared in 1909, hoped for a cheap edition from Dymock who declined, referring him to Lothian though (McCrae reported, mistakenly) promising to take a large stock. He was to receive a royalty of 10% with higher for subsequent sales.35 Mrs Mary Oxnam refused an offer of ‘£8 or £10 cash’ for the copyright in William Gay's poems but accepted a royalty of a halfpenny per copy of the Miniature (1910) and 5% on the three-and-sixpenny edition.36 F.S. Williamson's Purple and Gold (1912), the agreement overseen by solicitors, received an advance of royalties (£10 less £2 deducted for a debt) but as sales did not reach 1000 copies, no further royalties were accrued.37 Marie E.J. Pitt's Horses of the Hills (1911) was financed by a committee including O'Dowd. Such books were not expected to sell many copies and usually did not; the sale of 511 copies of the 1000 printed of Dorothy McCrae's Lyrics in Leisure by 1910 (the terms of publication are unknown) was regarded as exceptionally good.38
Prose writers at this time could expect a simple royalty arrangement, usually 5% on the published price for the first thousand, rising on subsequent thousands: journalist Charles Barrett for From Range to Sea: A Bird Lover's Ways, ready for Christmas 1907; Edward S. Sorenson, his agreement made in May 1907 for a book which became Quinton's Rouseabout and Other Stories, in February 1908, and Frank Fox of Sydney, whose ‘political letters’ were accepted early in 1908.39
Teaching staff of the University of Melbourne were important to Lothian as potential users of his publishers’ books and as authors. Walter Murdoch, Lecturer in English and “Elsevir”, literary writer of the Argus, and T.G. Tucker, Professor of Classics and English, were prominent in the literary societies. Lothian published Murdoch's address to the Literary Society of Melbourne, Enemies of Literature in 1907. His first textbook was an anthology for Murdoch's English course: Phases of Literature from Pope to Browning, by Jessie Webb and Ella M. Latham, first proposed in December 1906.40 This appeared in August 1908 after being prescribed for the University examinations of 1909. Now a valuable property, it was keenly sought by P.J. Symons for Robertson & Co. Pty Ltd, who bought 2000 on publication. It was overtaken by Murdoch's own School Treasury of English Verse (2 vol., 1910-1911) with Notes by Enid Derham. His royalties at this period set him apart from other Lothian authors at this time, with £143 earned from December 1910 to March 1913.41 In 1909 T.S. Hall, Lecturer in Biology, contributed Victorian Hill and Dale, ‘A Series of Geological Rambles'(1909) and Professor W.A. Osborne (whose Laboratory and Other Verses Lothian published in 1907) The Elements of Animal Physiology (1909).42 T.G. Tucker's addresses, The Supreme Literary Gift43 and The Making of a Shakespeare44 were reprinted as Nugget Booklets in 1907 and 1909 respectively; his lectures on literature and culture Things Worth Thinking About were reprinted in 190945 and other lectures as
Platform Monologues and Sappho in 1913-1914. A.T. Strong's essays Peradventure: A Book of Essays in Literary Criticism appeared in 1911.
The University group produced two magazines in turn entitled the Trident, the first by Murdoch with French and German lecturers F. Maurice Carton and W. von Dechend in May 1907 (von Dechend soon withdrew), chiefly for students and teachers of Modern Languages. When it ceased after April 1908 following a copyright infringement costing Lothian four guineas (also, it had sold few copies), it reappeared in May ‘as a short step in the direction of a general Australian Review',46 with Murdoch, A.T. Strong, J.G. Latham, B.A. Levinson, and O'Dowd closely involved.47 Champion contributed his ‘Unconventional Autobiography’ and featured the magazine on the Book Lover's front page; among articles on general topics were Latham's on public schools and Australia and the Pacific; and names familiar from earlier literary magazines provided verse. It ran until March 1909. The Australian Golf and the Motoring Magazine, published by Lothian but owned and edited by P. Reay of the Herald, appeared from April 1908 to February 1909.48
Lothian had become dissatisfied with his printing arrangements, and in 1908 while visiting the firm's principals in England he submitted three MSS to the well-known printers Butler & Tanner for estimate. He was soon satisfied that British printing and binding were both superior and economical; moreover, a plan to place his books on the British market seemed more feasible if the books were produced there.49 Arrangements were made with the Walter Scott Publishing Co. Ltd to distribute copies for review and sale, their imprint appearing under his on the title-page, though neither this nor subsequent arrangements were successful.
Considering the difficulties of conducting business at a distance, Butler & Tanner served Lothian well until war-related problems caused him to abandon them in 1916. Meanwhile, he used Melbourne printers occasionally and one author at least (Marie E.J. Pitt) insisted on local printing.50
Lothian returned in December 1908 to find disappointments in his publishing business and confusion in his accounts. Of the 3000 copies printed of Sorenson's Quinton's Rouseabout, for example, only 325 had sold. ‘Personally', he told the author, “I reckon it stands side by side with Lawson's best and far ahead of all that stuff that Rowlandson etc. are turning out'.51 Soon it did sell, 1500 at one shilling, wholesaler Gordon & Gotch in Sydney taking 1000;52 but when Sorenson offered other books in 1910, Lothian pleaded having too much business in hand and wished him success elsewhere.53
Three Bulletin contributors, known to Lawson, found Lothian less forthcoming than before. E.J. Brady's Ways of Many Waters, he now said, must sell 400-500 copies before printing (though the Bulletin's matrices were to be used). It is unclear if this minimum was reached, but it appeared in late 1909.54 R.J. Cassidy had received an offer for The Land of the Starry Cross in March 1907. When Cassidy revived the matter in April 1910, Lothian sought to relinquish the book but continued when R.J. Cassidy paid £20, retaining his 5% royalty.55 G.H. Cochrane (‘Grant Hervey') also came with a

Lawson's volumes in the Australian Miniature Series, published by Lothian. J.K. Moir Collection, La Trobe Rare Books Collection. MC 819.93L445M and MC 819.93L445S. Actual page dimensions are 89mm x 62mm.

book offered early in 1907, Australians Yet. This appeared in 1913, having been purchased by Lothian, who allowed Hervey 10% commission on sales on the published price after 1000 sold.56

Advertisement for ‘Dainty Books’ in Frank S. Williamson, Purple and Gold, Melb., Lothian, 1912.

In 1908 Lothian had arranged for Angus & Robertson the production of tiny books of selections for their Christmas trade by his principal Nimmo, Hay & Mitchell, in the style and size of their ‘Yapp Miniatures', retailing in Australia at 1/3d. In July 1909 he ordered his own in the same style from Butler & Tanner: Adam Lindsay Gordon's Sea Spray and Smoke Drift which, alerted to its non-copyright status by E. Wilson Dobbs,57 he had recently issued in 8vo.with Walter Murdoch's introduction. He asked for 2000 bound copies and 3000 sheets if it could be done for not more than fivepence or sixpence for the complete book, authorising them to exclude a longer and heavier piece or two. They omitted ‘Roll of the Kettle Drum’ rather than use unsuitable small type or go beyond 128 pages. By October Riviere (a cheaper binder was later found) were binding in velvet calf 1000 copies to deliver direct to George Robertson & Co., clearing stocks.58 A number of selections followed: in 1910, poems from Henry Kendall (chosen by Walter Murdoch), O'Dowd, Jennings Carmichael, William Gay, and E.J. Brady; in 1911, from Jessie Mackay, and the two prose works by Lawson. Gordon's Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes (also recently out of copyright) joined the series in 1913, and in 1914, Pyke's Blue Sky Philosophy, Ella Wheeler Wilcox's Poems, and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Now available in the cheaper cloth and paper boards as well as leather, these appeared as ‘The Australian Miniatures’.
Meanwhile, Lothian was employing a new method of disposing of some slower-selling works. In 1910 he had become Australasian agent of the Caxton Publishing Co., London, whose modus operandi brought him in some degree into competition with booksellers. Their wares were advertised direct to the public,
whose enquiries were followed up by a circular and who were expected to pay by instalments. This retail enterprise was at first run by a small ‘outside’ syndicate comprising himself and three staff, W.T. Pyke, E.W. Johnson (manager of Tyrrell & Co. in Adelaide), Archibald Strong and H.N. Straus. It commenced trading in January 1911 with a Musical Educator, with a set of Dickens to follow, and in May sold its business to the Standard Publishing Company Pty Ltd, formed for the purpose but with objectives permitting wider book-selling and related activity. Lothian was Governing Director and largest shareholder, Straus and his finance company having the next largest share.
On 28 August 1912 he advised Butler & Tanner that this ‘Subscription Book Co.’ would handle ‘some 20 odd volumes of Australian Poets'. For the present, Lothian would contribute seven: O'Dowd's Silent Land and Dawnward? bound with McCrae's Satyrs and Sunlight; William Gay's Poems with F.S. Williamson's Purple and Gold; Brady's Ways of Many Waters; Grant Hervey's Australians Yet and R.J. Cassidy's The Land of the Starry Cross; Lawson's For Australia and Other Poems and Triangles of Life and Other Stories. Angus & Robertson were to have provided five, but these did not appear in the series.59
The books with the Standard Company's imprint appeared, uniformly bound, in 1913, but the experiment was not extended to other works. On 11 July 1916 Lothian ordered for early 1917 the binding of another 250 of the Standard set; together with the two Lawson volumes with the imprint of the Lothian Book Company Pty Ltd, which he had formed late in 1914 to finance and expand the local publishing that had assumed heightened importance under war-time conditions.60 It had been a busy publishing year with 14 new titles, including the two ambitious volumes, The Art of Frederick McCubbin first planned late in 1913 and Ida Rentoul Outhwaite's Elves and Fairies; but trading was becoming difficult. Towards the end of 1916 all the Lothian companies were short of cash and a campaign was launched, which ran through 1917, to clear stocks and dispense with staff. Shipment of the Standard Poets was postponed, then cancelled on the ground of high freight charges. The Lawson volumes with the Lothian imprint bound “in good style in buckram”, sold slowly from January 1917: 43 Triangles and 62 For Australia in 1917; 24 of each in 1918. In 1921, just a year before Lawson's death, 100 of both books went at £7.10.0.
Lothian's experience with the two Lawson volumes no doubt confirmed his distrust of volumes of verse and short stories, and many years passed before they reappeared. Sales of the Lawson Miniatures, however, like others in the series, continued into 1917. The Lawson material lay ready to hand when Lothian again wished to prepare a cheap gift series in which a story or two might again be presented.
Cecily Close
Cecily Close worked for many years in the University of Melbourne Archives, and since 1998 has been an archival consultant. Her Ph.D. thesis dealt with the publishing activities of T.C. Lothian, 1905-1945.
Unless otherwise specified, the source is The Lothian Publishing Co. Pty Ltd Papers, La Trobe Australian Manuscripts Collection, State Library of Victoria.


A Catalogue of Books Published by Thomas C. Lothian, 100, Flinders Street, Melbourne, Oct. 1912. Bound with, e.g., E.J. Brady The Ways of Many Waters, Melb., Standard Publishing Co. Pty Ltd, 1913.


Stuart Sayers, The Company of Books: A Short History of the Lothian Book Companies 1888-1988, Melb., Lothian Publishing Company Pty Ltd, 1988.


O'Dowd to Lothian, 16 Nov. 1905.


Angus & Robertson outward letter book, 23 Jan. 1901-13 Aug. 1904. S14, Mitchell Library, MS MSS 314.


Charles Barrett, Louis Esson, Marie E. Fullerton, Agnes Gwynne, T.S. Hall, R.J. Jennings, Dorothy Frances McCrae, Alan Mickle, and Marie E.J. Pitt. Others had published only one or two: John Le Gay Brereton, Mabel Forrest, Kathleen Watson, Robert Crawford, Hugh McCrae, Elinor Mordaunt and O'Dowd.


Lothian to O'Dowd, 16 Nov. 1905.


Lothian to O'Dowd, 28 Jan., and reply, 30 Jan. 1907.


Silent Land: And Other Verses (1906), reprinted 1909; Dominions of the Boundary (1907); The Seven Deadly Sins: A Series of Sonnets and Other Verses (1909); Poetry Militant: Australian Plea for the Poetry of Purpose (1909); Dawnward? 2nd ed. (1909); Poems (Miniature, 1910); The Bush (1912).


The House of Lothian is Seventy-Five, Melb., Lothian Publishing Company, 1963, p. 17.


Op cit. p. 24.


Susan Radvansky and Patricia Alsop, ‘Tiwixt Heather and Wattle: The First Minute Book of the Australian Literary Society, Melb., Monash University, 1990, pp. 105-06. The Book Lover reported meetings of the Literature Society of Melbourne.


Book Lover, 1 Nov. 1906, p. 130. Champion also mentions having received the thanks of ‘writers of half a dozen books’.


Ibid, 1 July 1906, p. 83.


Ibid, 1 Nov. front page; 1 Dec. 1907, p. 137.


Ibid, 7 Jan. 1909, p. 3.


Ibid, 7 June 1909; 6 Sept. 1909, p. 99; 7 July 1910, p. 74.


Frank Fox, J.Le Gay Brereton, Hubert Church, Robert Crawford and Grant Hervey. Book Lover, 7 Sept. 1908, p. 106; 7 Nov. 1908, p. 125; 7 Jan. 1909, p. 11; 6 Sept. 1909, p. 103; March 1914, p. 30.


‘The Story of the Native Companion', typescript article, Oct. 1937. E.J. Brady Papers, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne.


Harold Pudney also worked at Cole's Book Arcade. The booklet included a poem read at the Literature Society of Melbourne's meeting of October 1906; others had appeared in The Tocsin.


Robert Hall, Glimpses of Bird Life: Thirty-one Original Photographs Direct from Nature, with Notes, Melb., 1906.


W.J. Rainbow — Lothian correspondence, 22 Nov. 1907-Oct. 1915.


B. Stevens — Lothian correspondence, 6 Dec. 1906-20 May 1907.


Stevens to Lothian, 16 April 1907, expressing astonishment that Lothian had not read no. 2 until a week after publication.


Stevens to Lothian, 20 May 1907.


Agreement, 24 May 1907. E.J. Brady file.


E.J. Brady Papers, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne.


K. Mansfield, ‘Vignettes', 1 Oct., pp. 129-32; ‘In a Café’ and (by ‘Julian Mark'), ‘In the Botanical Gardens', 2 Dec., pp. 265-69, 285-86.


R.H. Croll, I Recall: Collections and Recollections, Melb., Robertson & Mullens Ltd, 1939, p. 44.


F. Williams to Lothian, 16 Dec. 1907.


E.J. Brady, ‘Story of the Native Companion', Oct. 1937. Op cit.


Receipt Book, ‘Native Companion Receipts', amounts received from H.N. Straus, 1 Dec. 1907, Invoice 11 Dec. 1907, other amounts to 12 Aug. 1908; Receipt Book: Credit Note H.N. Straus, 12 Aug. 1908. For the financial aftermath of the Wayside's failures; correspondence between Lothian and Mrs Hal Stone, 4 Jan.-21 Dec. 1908; E.W. Smail, 17 Feb. 27, June 1911; Alex Cowan & Sons Ltd, 16 July 1908, 29 June 1911. Box 27.


Lothian to Stone, 12 Nov. 1906.


O'Dowd to Lothian, 26 May 1911.


Correspondence between Esson and Lothian, 23-29 Aug. 1910.


McCrae to Lothian, 26 May 1910, and reply 27 May 1910.


Lothian to Oxnam, 1 March, 20 April 1910. Her reply in respect of the booklet is absent, but it appeared.


Serle and Morrison's correspondence with Lothian, 25 July 1911-12 Jan. 1926.


Lothian to D. McCrae, 12 Oct. 1909; 18 Aug. 1910.


Letter Fox to Lothian, dated 9 Jan. 1907 but reply and subsequent correspondence is of 1908.


Webb and Tobin (Latham) to Lothian, 18 Dec. 1906. W1907-1916.


Lothian's correspondence with Murdoch, 5 Dec. 1930, 3 Jan. 1911, 12 Jan., 12 April, 23 Sept 1912, 30 Sept. 1913.


Reprinted from Journal of the Department of Agriculture of Victoria, Aug. 1906-March 1909, in Book Lover, 7 June 1909, p. 63.


T.G. Tucker, The Supreme Literary Gift, Melb., Tucker, 1900. Printed by Atlas Press.


T.G. Tucker, The Making of a Shakespeare, delivered to the Melbourne Shakespeare Society, Melbourne, Atlas Press, 1906.


T.G. Tucker, Things Worth Thinking About, Melb., E.W. Cole, 1901.


Trident, 1 May 1908, vol. 2, no. 1, Editorial.


Book Lover, 6 May 1908, p. 1.


Australian Golf: A Record of the Ancient Game, with which is incorporated the Motoring Magazine, vol. 1, no. 1, April 1908-Feb. 1909 (Monthly).


Lothian to Butler & Tanner, 3 April 1909.


Marie E.J. Pitt, Horses of the Hills, Melb., Lothian, 1911. Printed at the Specialty Press.


Lothian to Sorenson, 18 March 1909.


Lothian to Sorenson, 31 July 1909.


Sorenson to Lothian, 6 Oct., and reply, 10 Oct. 1910.


Brady-Lothian correspondence, 8 March-6 April 1909; Brady to Lothian, 9 Nov. 1909.


Cassidy-Lothian correspondence, 6 April 1910-16 Nov. 1912.


Lothian to Hervey, 11 Aug. 1913.


Dobbs to Lothian, 8 Feb. 1909. D1907-1916.


Lothian to Butler & Tanner, 28 July; reply 10 Sept. 1909; to Lothian, 15 Oct. 1909.


These were to have been 200 sheets each of works of Paterson, Evans, Daley, Farrell and Boake. They did not appear with the Standard imprint.


Lothian to G.J. Manton, 18 Nov. 1914. The word ‘Book', inserted by the Registrar, was dropped from the Company's name in 1924 to Lothian's relief.