Pelicans - May 1937


By 1937 after 100 Penguin titles had been published, plans were ready for an educational series, related to Penguins but under its own imprint. Pelicans began. The first title in May 1937 was G.B. Shaw's The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism. Shaw provided a whole new section on Sovietism and Fascism. This was the first original publishing that the company had commissioned. Within three years there were seventy titles authored by Sigmund Freud, Virginia Woolf, H.G. Wells, Beatrice Webb and others.

Penguin Specials - Nov 1937

In November 1937 Penguin Specials made their debut with Germany Puts the Clock Back by Edgar Mower. World War II was impending and Penguin began to commission new books on current international affairs : Searchlight on Spain by the Duchess of Atholl, The Jewish Problem by Louis Golding, Blackmail or War? by Genevieve Tabouis, Europe and the Czechs by S. Grant Duff and Mussolini's Roman Empire by G.T. Garratt. With these titles Penguin Books moved from being a reprint organisation into the field of original publishing. The Specials ran to 160 titles, many of which sold more than 250,000 copies.

Penguin Illustrated Classics - May 1938


May 1938 saw the launch of the Penguin Illustrated Classics with ten titles including Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe and Pride and Prejudice. For the series, Penguin commissioned contemporary artists to provide wood engravings.

King Penguins - Nov 1939


Penguin decided to move into both colour printing and hardback covers launching the King Penguin series in November 1939. Based on the much admired Insel books from Germany, they were one half text and one half colour illustration. They were very much reference books but still pocket sized, if a little taller and wider than the Penguins and Pelicans.Erudite in nature and style, titles included Some British Moths, A Book of Roses, A Book of Lilies and Portraits of Christ. .



The Insel books on which King Penguins were based

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