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University of Reading FOB Harry Ransom Center

About FOB

FOB (Firms Out of Business) is a long-planned companion project to WATCH which was launched as a pilot website in the summer of 2006. Its short address, for reference, is www.fob-file.com. Like WATCH, FOB is run jointly by the Harry Ransom Center and University of Reading Library.

FOB aims to record information about printing and publishing firms, magazines, literary agencies and similar organisations which are no longer in existence. Where possible the entries in FOB identify successor organisations which might own any surviving rights.

FOB entries are researched from standard reference books, from university library and archival catalogues, and from discussions with library colleagues and other experts in the field. The entries are designed as factual summaries, not as short company histories.

There are two categories of firm represented in FOB. The first category includes those firms which went out of existence long ago and where no publishing rights could possibly survive. See for example the FOB entry for the Doves Press. These entries are included for historical information and interest. The second category comprises firms which have disappeared more recently, and where enquirers may have an interest in rights which could belong to that firm or its successor. See for example the FOB entries for Hutchinson or the Hogarth Press. Through such entries FOB provides an important supplement to the copyright information in WATCH.

FOB is a much newer and less complete file than WATCH. The compilers would welcome submissions of additional information for FOB from users of the WATCH and FOB websites and from others with specialist knowledge in literary and publishing history. Contact d.c.sutton@reading.ac.uk or watsonrb@austin.utexas.edu.