Under John Murray II the John Murray firm established a reputation as a literary publisher.
In the early 19th-century an emerging middle class and expanding literacy created great public demand for novels. Fashionable genres included the Gothic novel, romances and historical novels.
The types of fiction published by Murray responded to reflect readers' tastes over the centuries.
In the Victorian era and early 20th-century, novels of adventure became increasingly popular, and Murray published authors like P C Wren (best remembered for 'Beau Geste').
Murray was an important promoter of American novelists and was the British publisher of Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper and Edith Wharton.
With the purchase of the firm of Smith Elder in 1917 the business acquired many popular 19th-century authors, such as:
- Charlotte Brontë
- Elizabeth Gaskell
- Arthur Conan Doyle
- Thomas Hardy
- George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans)
- Anthony Trollope
- Mrs Humphry Ward (Mary Augusta Ward).
Among the novelists represented in the John Murray Archive are: