The Bodley Head is an English publishing house, founded in 1887 and existing as an independent entity until the 1970s. The name was used as an imprint of Random House Children's Books from 1987 to 2008. In April 2008, it was revived as an adult non-fiction imprint within Random House's CCV division.
Herbert George Jenkins was a manager at the firm during the first decade of the twentieth century, before leaving to set up his own publishing house in 1912. (Subscription required for online access) The Bodley Head became a private company in 1921. In 1926 it published the Book of Bodley Head Verse, an anthology edited by J. B. Priestley. The firm published some mainstream popular authors such as Arnold Bennett and Agatha Christie but ran into financial difficulties. It continued after 1936 backed by a consortium of Allen & Unwin, Jonathan Cape, and J. M. Dent. Allen Lane, John Lane's nephew who had inherited control, finally left to found Penguin Books.
In the 1930s, "The Bodley Head" was used as a series title by Penguin Books. For Example A Short History of the World by H. G. Wells appeared in the series in 1936.
The firm was bought in 1957 by Ansbacher & Co., headed by Max Reinhardt. During this period Bodley Head published the work of authors such as George Bernard Shaw, Graham Greene, Charles Chaplin, William Trevor, Maurice Sendak, Muriel Spark, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Sam Haskins and Alistair Cooke. Max Reinhardt was also responsible for the expansion of one of the outstanding children's books lists in modern publishing. The imprint was still important in the 1970s when it was drawn into the Jonathan Cape/Chatto & Windus group. The firm was sold to Random House in 1987, who published children's books under The Bodley Head name until 2008.
The archives of The Bodley Head Ltd are kept at Reading University. Archives of The Bodley Head Ltd, jisk.ac.uk. Retrieved 13 November 2018.