J A Allen
Joe Allen was the leading publisher and seller of equestrian books. From 1926 to his retirement in 1999 he published nearly 500 books. Any publishing decision was based on one criterion. In his opinion, the book had to have merit; it deserved to be published, irrespective of the likely profit. He published books on all aspects of equestrian life: books on leisure, sporting and working horses, books on racing, riding and driving, books for beginners and experts. And he reprinted the classics, such as Pluvinel’s Le Maneige Royal, that were beyond the pocket of the ordinary buyer in their original form.
In the early days there were non-equestrian books. The first book published under the J. A. Allen imprint was Musings on Murder, etc. by Lord Darling in 1925, when Joe was fifteen years old. This was a re-print of three articles supporting the death penalty that were originally published in the London Evening News. The Art of Fiction by Rudyard Kipling followed in 1926.
From the start the bookshop was in Grenville Street in the heart of London’s artistic district, Bloomsbury. Joe served the legendary Bloomsbury Set. Perhaps Joe’s greatest delight was to have been the first publisher of Lawrence Durrell under the imprint of the Caduceus Press. In 1932 he published Durrell’s Ten Poems in a limited edition of twelve copies. This was followed in 1933 by Bromo Bombastes: A Fragment from a laconic drama by Gaffer Peeslake, which same being a brief extract from his Compendium of Lisson Devices and Transition in 1934.
Over twenty-five years Joe provided great encouragement and support in putting this collection together. The longer-term intention is to provide a fuller biography of Joe and his contribution to the equestrian world. A list of books published by Joe is shown in the Allen Bibliography. Any corrections or additions are most welcome
view the J A Allen Bibliography