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Q: TC & EC Jack, Book Publishers ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: TC & EC Jack, Book Publishers
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: stormer37-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 01 Apr 2004 14:28 PST
Expires: 01 May 2004 15:28 PDT
Question ID: 323765
In 1911 TC & EC Jack, 16 Henrietta Street, London W.C. and Edinburgh
published The British Bird Book.  Which company looks after their
interests now?  How can I contact them?

Request for Question Clarification by leli-ga on 03 Apr 2004 00:11 PST
Hello stormer37

Are you mainly interested in knowing who took over this particular
book?  I can tell you which publisher had nineteenth century premises
near TC & EC Jack and published some of their titles, including bird
and animal books, in the 1920s and 1930s. I can also trace their
"inheritance" of another bird book by the same author who wrote The
British Bird Book through to the 1960s. In this decade they were taken
over by a bigger company which still uses their name.

I'm sure you realise this wouldn't be a "legal" answer to who (if
anyone) has the rights (if any) to The British Bird Book, but it might
offer you useful information about the publishers, including contact

Please just say if this sounds like a suitable answer and I'll be glad
to write up what I've discovered.

Thanks - Leli

Clarification of Question by stormer37-ga on 03 Apr 2004 02:25 PST
Hi Leli,

Thank you for your response.  As I ultimately wish to use some of the
material in "The British Bird Book" on a web site, any information
which points to a) who can give me permission to use this material or
b)who can show that this book is out of copyright is what I need. 
Essentially for a European published book to be out of copyright, the
authors need to have died more than 70 years ago.  That is the
information a publisher or copyright holder should have.

Many thanks for your work so far.  I look forward to hearing from you further.


Request for Question Clarification by leli-ga on 03 Apr 2004 04:07 PST
Thanks for your message, stormer37 

Even though I don't actually know who owns the copyright, I feel I
should tell you that I've discovered the author/editor died less than
70 years ago and so the copyright for the words still holds good.
There is evidence that eight different illustrators were involved, but
I haven't researched their dates of birth/death.

Would you like me to go ahead with the information about the publishers?

Thanks - Leli

Clarification of Question by stormer37-ga on 03 Apr 2004 05:05 PST
Yes, that would be fine.  Maybe they would have the details I need.

Subject: Re: TC & EC Jack, Book Publishers
Answered By: leli-ga on 03 Apr 2004 05:54 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
There is a clear picture of TC & EC Jack's bird books passing to the
publishers T. Nelson & Sons, also simply called Nelson.

The illustrations from The British Bird Book were used in 1966 in a
book published by Nelson, with text written by F.B. Kirkman before his
death in 1945. It was Kirkman who had edited the original volumes
brought out between 1910 and 1913 by TC & EC Jack. Soon after The
British Bird Book was published, Kirkman wrote "British Birds" and
this was revised and reprinted over the years. Between the two world
wars his bird books had both publishers' names on them, then later
just Nelson's.

Nelson was bought by the multi-national Thomson Corporation in 1960.
Soon after, the religious publishing section was split off and sold to
the US (still called Thomas Nelson). The educational and other books
stayed with Thomson. Nelson continued in the UK until 2000 when they
merged with Thornes to become the educational publishers Nelson
Thorne. The Nelson name is also an important part of Thomson Learning
in Canada. However, I think the UK Nelson Thorne is most likely to
have answers for you, since Kirkman's text was published *in London*
with the 1910-13 illustrations six years after the takeover by

The evidence and sources are laid out below, but please let me know if
you feel anything needs clarification.

This was an interesting question for me because the research started
with my knowledge of Edinburgh. Google searches showed that the Jacks
operated from the Grange Publishing Works, and this name suggested to
me that they would have been very close to the Nelson family's
manufacturing premises and their home. Searches in library catalogues
found about 50 books from the inter-war period with both the Jack and
Nelson names given as publishers, and this got things off to a good

Thanks for asking!


Kirkman and his books on birds

A 1938 book is listed by the British Library:

British Birds ... New edition, 1938, revised.
Main heading: 	KIRKMAN. Frederick Bernuf Bever. and JOURDAIN (Francis
Charles Robert)
Publication details:  T. Nelson & Sons; T. C. & E. C. Jack: London &
Edinburgh, 1938.

A 1966 edition at the National Library of Scotland:

Main author: 	Kirkman, F. B. (Frederick B.), 1869-1945.
Title: 	British birds / by F.B. Kirkman and F.C.R. Jourdain.
Imprint: 	London : Nelson, 1966.

A book dealer's information:

Kirkman, F.B. & Jourdain, F.C.R.
British Birds 200 plates in full colour.
Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd, London, 1966. 
"Contains the 200 coloured plates which were issued in the British
Bird Book (edit. Kirkman), 1910-13.
[ . . . ]
The text is new, designed to provide in a succinct format, the best
available information sufficient to identify all British species
except the rarest. Includes descriptions of appearances, range,
habitats, nests, eggs, food and song."

One book dealer helpfully lists these illustrators:

Seaby, A W
Goodchild, H
Collins, G E
Priest, Alfred
Austen, Winifred
Gronvold, H
Lodge, G E
Wormald, H

You can find more on Kirkman etc. by searching at the sites below.

British Library catalogue

National Library of Scotland

Abe Books used book search

Copac UK

Nelson the publishers

"In 1960, the company was sold to the multi-national Thomson
Organisation, based in Canada, who built on Nelson's reputation for
school and reference books."

Written in 2000:

"Today, Nelson's is one of Britain's leading publishers of educational
titles, offering materials for all ages, from nursery level to further
education, and in all subject areas."

"In January 2000, two strong UK publishing businesses - Thomas Nelson
and Stanley Thornes - joined forces to create a new company, Nelson

Contact Nelson Thornes

Nelson is also part of Thomson Learning in Canada.

"Nelson, a division of Thomson Learning"

Contact Thomson Learning

More on the Nelson family and the situation up to 1960 here:


Searches included:

"Thomas OR T  C jack" Edinburgh 
Jack "Grange Publishing Works"
stormer37-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Thank you Leli for being so diligent with your research. As the editor
of this book died in 1945, I understand that as a consequence, it will
be in copyright till 2011, at the earliest.  In the meantime I'll just
keep it to admire for myself.

Subject: Re: TC & EC Jack, Book Publishers
From: leli-ga on 06 Apr 2004 00:44 PDT
You're welcome.

Now I want to see the book!

What a nuisance about the copyright situation.

Anyway, enjoy looking at it yourself.


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