Michael Joseph (26 September 1897 – 15 March 1958) was a British publisher and writer.
Joseph was born in Upper Clapton, London. He served in the British Army during the First World War, and then embarked on a writing career, his first book being Short Story Writing for Profit (1923).
After a period as a literary agent for Curtis Brown, Joseph founded his own publishing imprint as a subsidiary of Victor Gollancz Ltd. Gollancz invested £4000 in Michael Joseph Ltd, established 5 September 1935.Joseph and Victor Gollancz disagreed on many points and Michael Joseph bought out Gollancz Ltd in 1938 after Gollancz attempted to censor Across the Frontiers by Sir Philip Gibbs on political grounds. (Joseph published the first edition in 1938 and a revised edition the following May.) Joseph managed to build up an impressive list of authors, such as H. E. Bates, C. S. Forester, Monica Dickens, and Richard Llewellyn.
Joseph married actress Hermione Gingold in 1918 and they had two sons, Leslie and Stephen Joseph.(The Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, established by the latter in 1955, was Britain's first theatre in the round.) The couple divorced in 1926 and Joseph promptly married Edna Victoria Nellie Frost, with whom he had a daughter Shirley and son Richard. Richard established a very successful career in printing and then later running his own publishing company. He and his wife, Elizabeth, had a son, Adam Joseph and daughter, Rachel Joseph. Edna died in 1949 and Joseph's third marriage the next year was to Anthea Esther Hodson, with whom he had a daughter Charlotte and son Hugh. Anthea ran the publishing business after her husband's death.
Michael Joseph died of septicaemia after a delayed medical operation in 1958.
After Joseph died, his widow Anthea Joseph rescued the publishing company Michael Joseph Ltd, from the ensuing crisis.In 1985, Michael Joseph Ltd was acquired by Penguin Books. Penguin turned its new property into one of its imprints and in 2018 Penguin describes Michael Joseph as "[t]he leading commercial fiction and non-fiction imprint of Penguin Books", specialising in "women’s fiction, crime, thrillers, cookery, memoirs and lifestyle books".
The series of books known as "The Minack Chronicles", written by Derek Tangye, from 1962 to 1996.
Other authors on Joseph’s list included Paul Gallico, Barry Hines, Joyce Cary, Richard Gordon and Vita Sackville-West.
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Richard Stanton Lambert was a biographer, popular historian and broadcaster. He was also the founding editor of The Listener and an employee of the BBC and CBC. His books mainly concern history and biography but he also wrote about crime, travel, art, radio, film and propaganda. In Ariel and All His Quality he wrote about his time with the BBC in its formative years. Propaganda, published in 1939, was a timely investigation of a subject already made familiar during World War I.
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Hon. Anthea Esther Joseph, also known by her second married name Hastings, was a British publisher.