Martin Secker began publishing before the First World War and gathered a distinguished group of writers, including D. H. Lawrence, Thomas Mann, Norman Douglas, and Henry James, under the imprint of his publishing house. In 1936 his firm was absorbed in the new company of Secker and Warburg, which carried on the traditions of the original publisher. Secker left, however, and joined the Board of Directors of The Richards Press (the remains of the famous Grant Richards company).
This collection reflects the publishing history of Martin Secker’s publishing company as it was maintained in his personal library. The collection incorporates virtually every book published by Secker and includes such volumes as D. H. Lawrence’s Women In Love, Compton Mackenzie’s Sylvia Scarlet, Conrad Aiken’s Bring! Bring!, and Hugh Walpole’s Fortitude and The Dark Forest. Contained in many of the volumes are significant inscriptions or letters from authors paying tribute to their publisher.
In addition to the books Secker published, the collection contains the “Letter Book” of The Richards Press from 20 April 1938 to 12 February 1941. The “Letter Book” is made up of office copies of some 500 letters written by Secker. These are significant both in terms of the authors Secker was corresponding with and the documentation of trends in the publishing industry. The research potential of these letters extends beyond the boundaries of literary history, presenting a fascinating point of view on the effect of the early years of the Second World War on literary culture and the reading public.
— A Guide to Literary and Related Materials