John Carter papers

Biographical and Historical Notes

John Carter (1905-1975)

John Carter (1905-1975), educated at Eton College and at King’s College, Cambridge, worked for the London branch of Scribner’s. After working for the British Information Service during World War II, he returned to Scribner’s and became managing director. In 1953, he was appointed Counsellor of Embassy and Personal Assistant to Her Majesty’s Ambassador in Washington and when he returned to London in 1956, he joined Sotheby’s. Carter served as vice-president of the Bibliographical Society and as the Sandars Reader in Bibliography at the University of Cambridge in 1947. He authored many books including Binding Variants in English Publishing 1820-1900 (1932); Taste and Technique in Book Collecting (1948); and An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets (1934).


Carter, John. ABC For Book Collectors. Seventh Edition revised by Nicolas Barker. New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 1995.

Scope and Content Note

The John Carter papers contain 17 items that span the dates 1959-1970. The papers include seven letters and postcards from John Carter to bookseller Alan Thomas; two letters from Alan Thomas to John Thomas; typescripts of notices regarding the Bibliographical Society’s membership and events; Don Gallup’s typescript definition of a “first edition”; and an article by Carter on book collecting published in the August 1965 issue of The Director. Also included in the papers are two newspaper clippings from the Sunday Times of London. One announces that Ernestine Carter, John Carter’s wife and Women’s section editor of the Sunday Times, has won the Golden Pen Award for British Journalists, and the other is a short piece written by Ernestine Carter entitled “As Others See Us.”