HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by News Corporation. It is the combination of the publishers William Collins, Sons and Co Ltd, a British company, and Harper & Row, an American company, itself the result of an earlier merger of Harper & Brothers and Row, Peterson & Company. The worldwide CEO of HarperCollins is Brian Murray. The company publishes under many different imprints, and publishes the Collins English Dictionary.
Collins was a Scottish printing company founded by a Presbyterian schoolmaster, William Collins, in Glasgow in 1819, in partnership with Charles Chalmers, the younger brother of Thomas Chalmers, minister of Tron Church, Glasgow. The company had to overcome many early obstacles, and Charles Chalmers left the business in 1825. The company eventually found success in 1841 as a printer of Bibles, and, in 1848, Collins's son Sir William Collins developed the firm as a publishing venture, specializing in religious and educational books. The company was renamed William Collins, Sons and Co Ltd. in 1868.
Although the early emphasis of the company had been on religion and education, Collins also published more widely. In 1917, with Sir Godfrey Collins in charge, the firm started publishing fiction. Collins Crime Club (1930–1994) published all but the first six of Agatha Christie's novels, as well as the British editions of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books and many others from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Upon purchasing the rights to the works of C.S. Lewis, Fount was established as Collins's religion imprint.